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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Homemade Cranberry Sauce

I can't believe there are only 7 more shopping days until Christmas. This holiday has just snuck up on me this year! And you know what 7 more shopping days of Christmas mean? Only 7 more days to make and bake something Christmassy (is that even a word?? Not quite sure Webster's dictionary recognizes Christmassy, but I'm using it today!).

Anyhow, I discovered something over Thanksgiving and that was how to make my own cranberry sauce. I can't believe my mom never made fresh cranberry sauce. Oh she made one version, the ground up kind, but nothing as good as this! She made the cranberry relish, which was ok, but I prefer the cranberry sauce. And believe me when I tell you, the canned version has nothing on the homemade sauce! The canned version is more like, well, a condensed Jell-O mold. While the homemade sauce is just that, a sweet and tart sauce made with fresh cranberries. I discovered this because I am trying to use fresh ingredients and stay away from preservatives and additives in the foods I make.

There are many recipes out there for homemade cranberry sauce and they are all really simple to make. As I'm trying to be more healthy, I substituted honey for white sugar. You can also substitute Agave nectar for honey but I found that version a little too runny for my taste (or maybe I just didn't cook it long enough, but nonetheless, slightly runny). Where the honey, like the sugar version, cooked to a thicker sauce and tasted just as sweet. Yes, so far I've made this with sugar, Agave nectar, and honey (in separate batches) and this has only been since Thanksgiving! Can you say "Addicted to fresh cranberry sauce", yep, that's me!

I put fresh cranberry sauce in my oatmeal or put it on top of plain yogurt...Yum! I never thought I would eat plain yogurt as a kid, but Fage plain yogurt is delicious! Not bitter and sour like many other brands of plain yogurt. Plus by eating plain yogurt, you cut out a lot of the added sugars and preservatives used in the fruit mixes . And even though I put fresh cranberry sauce on top of my plain yogurt, I control what it's made of and how much. So there ya go, another reason to make your own homemade cranberry sauce!

Here's my recipe for a healthy, delicious cranberry sauce that you can enjoy not only around the Holidays but throughout the year :)

Cranberry Sauce


2/3 cup Honey
1 cup water
4 cups (1- 12 ounce package) fresh or frozen cranberries

*Optional - pecans, raisins, berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries), chopped apples, orange/lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, or orange marmalade.


Place cranberries in a strainer and rinse well, picking out any bad ones. Add water and honey to a saucepan and heat to boiling, stirring often to help dissolve the honey.

When it comes to a boil, add the cranberries and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer, while constantly stirring, for approximately 10-15 minutes or until cranberries start to burst (you will hear the little popping sounds they make) and desired thickness of sauce. Just keep in mind the sauce thickens as it cools, so it will still be a little runny during this stage.
At this time if so desired, you can add the optional ingredients. Add optional ingredients to your own taste. This is when I add two (2) tablespoons of Smucker's Sweet Orange Marmalade to give it that orange zest I like (that and it was the only other orange flavoring I had in the house on the first day I made this recipe) and a good choice it was!

Remove saucepan from heat and let cool at room temperature before refrigerating. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Just a few tips : 

- You can substitute orange juice for the water.

- You can substitute 2/3 cup Agave nectar or 1 cup of white sugar for the honey. I looked it up, 1 cup of sugar is equal to 2/3 cup honey or Agave nectar.

- When adding the cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice I just put a dash of each since they add quite a zing of flavor with a small amount. So season to your own liking while keeping that in mind.

- I have added apples with the cranberries too. I just chopped up 1 small apple, leaving the skin on, and added it with the cranberries. I have yet to make it with the berries, but you would probably add them with the cranberries so they could also cook.

- I add two tablespoons of the orange marmalade and like any other recipe, you can add to your own taste.

You can make this in approximately 20 minutes and not even make a big mess of the kitchen! I hope you find this recipe as delicious as I do and Wow! your family and friends with a homemade version of the classic cranberry sauce!
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