"homemade cranberry sauce" news and stories
When it comes to cranberry sauce, I've always been partial to the canned stuff. I like the shape that the can makes, and I like the simplicity of it - just crank it open and give it a couple of jiggles. However, this year, when I went to pick up the standard can, I happened to read the label and discovered that my beloved Ocean Spray is made with high fructose corn syrup. Despite those commercials that the corn refiners started running earlier in the fall, trying to convince the public that HFCS is just fine, I've been trying to avoid it. So back on the shelf went the can and I determined to make my own sauce, albeit as close in consistency to the canned version as possible.
I cooked down a bag of cranberries with some maple syrup, Meyer lemon juice and zest and some cherry cider (I would have used cranberry juice, but I didn't have any) until the berries were all popped and juicy. I then ran the whole mess through a food mill to smooth it out and get rid of the skins (I know that they are very healthy, but I wanted a can-like consistency and so they had to go). I toyed briefly with pulling out a mold (I have a few from my great-aunt) but decided that was overkill and just chilled it in a glass bowl so that you could see the bright redness.
The resulting cranberry sauce was pleasantly tangy, but with a discernable sweetness. It was still cloudier than the canned sauce and not quite as set, but I continue to be happy with the results. After a couple of days in the fridge, it's become like jam and I'm considering making more to can and give away as holiday gifts. More specific details, like measurements, after the jump.
To be honest, I don't mind the kind of cranberry jelly that comes from a can. I'm not saying that it's the epitome of gourmet cuisine, but it tastes pretty good and, thanks to some relatives I mentioned before, it's generally going to be on the table at holiday meals regardless of what else is there. But I don't want to limit myself (or my family) to the cylindrical jelly, so one of the other things that is usually on the table as well, is homemade cranberry sauce. It is bright and can be flavored in any number of ways, not to mention that it is very easy to make. From start to finish, the sauce only takes a few minutes and it can be made well in advance and stored in the fridge. This particular recipe was adapted from Bon Appetit and uses fresh cranberries as well as cranberry juice and dried cherries, which plump up as they are heated. I used organic berries and cherries in mine, but the flavor really isn't very different if you use conventionally grown fruits.
The recipe is after the jump.