Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Classic Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Whether you serve them with your stuffing, dessert, or it has its own special place on your table, cranberries add a classic touch to your holiday spread. Make your own homemade cranberry sauce this year for Thanksgiving using fresh cranberries! This easy recipe is so simple yet yields amazing results. I am a bit of a purist when it comes to "the sauce", I don't care for extras like nuts or orange zest. A lot of the people sharing the table with me won't even touch a cranberry, but they certainly won't eat one that tastes like oranges! So I am sharing with you my simple standby, a 4 ingredient classic cranberry sauce recipe.




If you LOVE the smooth jellied version, you can check out my tutorial to make your own! Can ridges optional! I like to let mine set in a well-washed can, to add those little ridges. It's a fun way to give everyone the cranberry sauce they expect, with great homemade taste.




Homemade jellied cranberry sauce, complete with can ridges!

You will need:

1 (12 oz.) pkg. whole cranberries

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup apple juice, unsweetened if possible

1 1/2 cup sugar

Directions:

1. Combine water, apple juice and sugar in a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add your rinsed cranberries and bring it back up to a boil (the cranberries will initially bring down your overall temperature, requiring that we bring it back to a boil).


Medium-low flame

2. Reduce heat to med-low (as shown) and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.



Berries cooking, none have burst yet

3. Remove from heat.

The next part is optional:


I like to mush up some of the berries with a potato masher at this point, or you can remove half the cranberry mixture and blend it until the consistency you desire. Many of the berries burst during the simmering process, but I like to have a nice mix of berry bits and smooth, silky sauce.

4. Cover and refrigerate until serving. I think it gels better if you make it the day before, but you should at least wait a few hours with it in the fridge before serving.

This tastes great with real vanilla bean ice cream! 

Also is great used on leftover turkey sandwiches! 

Make Your Own (DIY) Jellied Cranberry Sauce in a Can!

I spent the first half of my formative years (until the age of 12) in a home where everything was made from scratch. My stepmother, a woman with family ties to the Amish community, was the original "Domestic Goddess". Every day she showed me how to do things around the house with supreme efficiency and frugality. But as important as saving my Dad's hard earned money was, she was also a stickler for quality and taste, as well as health. 

When I was a teen, I lived with my Mom, a fly-by-night kind of woman who moved us around constantly and can only really cook a few things well. Everything else was take-out or from a box, and while I don't think there is necessarily anything wrong with that, it was a huge change for me. Sometimes I absolutely HAVE to have something homemade, because its the only way it tastes right to me. I guess I was spoiled, culinarily speaking, when I was little. 





THIS tutorial is a mash up between the two worlds! While I am one of the only people in my house that will eat cranberry sauce, I am now sharing traditions with my own child. This has become one of our favorites, Homemade Cranberry Sauce in a Can! Complete with can ridges (though that part is optional) and a smooth blended, silky texture, minus the high fructose corn syrup and dyes. This is perfect for anyone who is finicky (picky), has food allergies or is trying to eat less processed foods. I used BPA free cans, too! 

Ingredients:

1 (12 oz.) pkg. whole cranberries
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple juice, unsweetened if possible
1 1/2 cup sugar

Tools:
Medium Saucepan
2 clean cans (BPA free if possible)
strainer, mesh sieve or food mill (whatever you have on hand)
wide mouth funnel


Directions:

Picture by J.Rae

1. Combine water, apple juice and sugar in a medium sized sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add your rinsed cranberries and bring it back up to a boil (the cranberries will initially bring down your overall temperature, requiring that we bring it back to a boil). 

2. Simmer on med-high until all the cranberries have burst, stirring regularly. If it starts to thicken too quickly, add a little more water as needed.

3. Remove from heat. When cranberries are finished cooking, pour them into the bowl of the food mill, mesh sieve/strainer and use a rubber scraper to work it through, until all that remains in the bowl of the food mill/strainer is seeds and skins.



I used a mesh strainer and a spoon

4. Set a wide mouth funnel into your well-cleaned cans and scrape the warm cranberry sauce into the can, leaving a bit of space at the top.


Leave little space at the top!
5. Cover the filled cans with foil or plastic wrap and place them the fridge to set. If you can, give them at least 12 hours of chilling for molding.

To Serve:
1. Carefully slide the butter knife down along the side of the cranberry jelly and run it in a complete circle to loosen. Take care when you to this so you don’t end up slicing all the can ridges off the jelly. 


Sliding right out!

2. Once the sauce has been loosened, turn the can over onto your dish and give it a little wiggle and a tap. The jellied sauce should shimmy and shake its way out onto the dish!
Picture by J.Rae

3. If it remains stuck in the can, use the can opener to break the vacuum, by beginning to take the bottom off the can. I've found that you don’t have to remove it all the way,  just a little bit of air in there helps move things along. 



If you like this recipe, you can check it out with more step by step pictures over at Instructables!



You can also use this recipe for funneling into glass jars and processing in a boiling water bath  for canning. 

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