It's the turkey day staple - cranberry sauce. Although the jelly-like tin can variety has the spotlight usually, I tried my hand at making my own this year (I did give in and buy one can of the jiggly canned kind for the sake of the masses). The ingredients in regular canned cranberry sauce are pretty simple too, but homemade sounded fun to try (mostly) and a little fresher and more flavorful.
Using a couple bags of store-bought cranberries, I followed a super simple recipe:
2 bags cranberries (approx. 4 cups)
2 Cups of Sugar
1 Cup of OJ*
1 Cup of Water
Cinnamon stick (optional)
*you can use two cups of water instead of the OJ, but I liked the flavorful, more spiced idea.
You will need one medium pot/sauce pan, measuring cup, a mixing spoon, and a container for your sauce (I used mason jars, of course).
Begin by mixing you liquids and sugar in the pot on medium heat until it boils.
There is quite a bit of sugar in this, especially with the addition of the OJ - I am willing to bet that it could also be made with maple syrup instead, as a more natural sweetener (but all I had on hand was a bourbon infused one so that didn't seem right).
Once boiling for a few minutes, add the cranberries (whole - it's amazing how fast these tart little treats break down) and the cinnamon stick if you'd like a more spiced flavor.
Stir occasionally until the cranberries have broken down to a preferred consistency (less time = more chunky, more time = more smooth). I let mine go until it was a gel-like consistency, and I squashed any whole cranberries that had not broken down on their own with the back side of my spoon when I stirred.
Take out the cinnamon stick, and let the cranberry sauce sit for about 10 minutes to cool. When ready, pour into container and let it come down to room temp on the counter (especially if you are using glass or mason jars - to avoid cracking). Once it is room temp, place in the fridge or serve it right up! I like mine on the cool side.
I'll be curious to see how quickly these jars are emptied come Thanksgiving day... I don't know if I will be able to compete with the ribbed jelly from a can, but we'll try! This would also make for a great holiday jam on toast or leftover turkey sandwiches for the days to follow, so if there's some left it might be a good thing!