One of the staples of the November kitchen here at the Little House is healthy homemade cranberry sauce. Cranberry sauce has all the colors and scents of late autumn and early winter, with the added benefits of the health boosting properties of cranberries and warming spices.
Cranberries are high in antioxidants, rich in vitamin C and fiber, and manganese. Due to the natural tartness of cranberries, most store bought cranberry sauces contain high fructose corn syrup or high amounts of processed sugar. You do not need to add any gelatin or pectin to cranberry sauce because cranberries have a naturally high pectin content, which gives the sauce its texture. Homemade cranberry sauce is easy to make and is an absolutely delicious addition to the autumn table.
12 oz of fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup orange juice or apple cider (you can supplement with water if need be)
Orange zest of 1 orange or to taste (If you prefer less orange taste, use less zest or omit altogether)
3/4 - 1 cup maple syrup or raw honey (add more towards the end if needed)
*If you choose to use regular sugar, I suggest brown over white sugar for richness of flavor*
1/4 -1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch (or 2) of nutmeg
*Makes approximately 2 1/2 cups (I fit mine in 2 half pint mason jars plus another 1/4 pint jar)*
Add your juice and sweetener to your medium saucepan and stir together until blended.
*Note: If you are using brown sugar, heat your liquid on the stove top on low-medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved into your liquid*
Add your 12 oz of cranberries to your liquid and stir
Grate in your orange zest to taste
Sprinkle in your cinnamon and nutmeg
Stir all together and place on the stovetop on medium heat
Allow to simmer for 15 minutes and then check your sauce for flavor and consistency (this is the time to add more sweetener, zest, or spices if needed)
Let the sauce continue to simmer on low-medium heat until the cranberries have popped and your sauce has thickened (it will continue to thicken as it cools)
Mash your cranberry sauce with a wooden spoon or potato masher until desired consistency is achieved (if you want a very smooth sauce, allow to cool, and then blend with a hand mixer or in the blender)
Jar your sauce and pop it in the fridge
Serve cool and enjoy!
Homemade cranberry sauce will last in a sealed container approximately 10-14 days in the fridge. You can also freeze your sauce for up to 2 months. Cranberry sauce can be canned in a similar fashion to jams and jellies so that you can store it longer term in your pantry.