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Make-Ahead Cranberry Sauces

November 11, 2011

As I sat down this morning to write about cranberries, I realized that, though cranberries grow in Michigan, I have never been to a cranberry bog and I would like to go to one. So, in lieu of going to a bog this afternoon, I read about cranberries in one of my favorite food books, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Herald McGee. (McGee is a wonderful addition to any kitchen. When someone asks, “How did they figure out yeast?” or “Why don’t I like cilantro?” there’s McGee, sitting there, waiting to answer your question. And he’s much more pleasant than the internet, I think.)

I digress. Anyway, from McGee I learned that cranberries were only cultivated in the 19th century and “the familiar jelly-like cranberry sauce was born early in the 20th century when a large producer decided to process his damaged berries into a canned puree.” So, clear that cranberry sauce off the First Thanksgiving Table in your imagination. But still feel good serving it at your actual Thanksgiving table; cranberries are full of antioxidants.

I’m posting two recipes for cranberry sauce: my all-time favorite and a submission from Ingrid Reineking. Both these recipes can be made several days–or weeks–in advance of your holiday meal (Thanksgiving or Christmas). So, start preparing now! Make some today! It takes 10 minutes, and most of the time is spent waiting.

(I have posted other recipes for cranberries here:  Lemon Cranberry Muffins, White Chocolate Cranberry Pecan Tart, Basic Cranberry Muffins and Easy Cranberry Pie. There are other cranberry recipes on this blog that call for dried cranberries, too.)

Cranberry Chutney

from The Spice is Right: Easy Indian Cooking for Today by Monica Bhide

This is an Indian-influenced cranberry sauce, but you don’t need to serve it with Indian food. It is the only cranberry sauce I make any more; it is that good and it’s easy. 

1/2 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries

1 C. water

3/4 C. sugar

2 t. cinnamon

1 t. chopped walnuts

1 t. ground ginger

1/4 t. ground cloves

1/4 t. garam masala (an Indian spice mixture; don’t leave this out, it makes the recipe! You can find simple instructions for how to make your own the last time I posted this recipe. Yes, it’s so good, this is the second time I’ve posted it. The first one was here.)

In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, water, sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, ginger, cloves, and garam masala. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes until mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and mash the berries with a potato masher. Let cool completely and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


Cranberry Sauce

contributed by Ingrid Reineking

1 C. sugar

1 cinnamon stick

2 t. finely chopped fresh ginger

2 t. grated orange peel

¼ t. salt

1/8 t. ground cloves

One 12 oz package fresh cranberries

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 C. water with the sugar, cinnamon stick, fresh ginger, orange peel, salt and cloves.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved.  Stir in the cranberries and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring, until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and remove the cinnamon stick.  Let cool.

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