I grew up eating canned cranberry sauce every year at my Thanksgiving dinner. Cranberry sauce was one of my favorite dishes during the feast. I'd plop a huge pile on my plate and dip each bite of turkey in it. Back then I didn't question what I ate and certainly didn't participate in the cooking process.
Why I Ditched Canned Cranberry Sauce For The Real Stuff
At some point I came to understand that my beloved cranberry sauce not only came out of can (not a big deal), but was primarily made with high fructose corn syrup or corn syrup (not so cool...or appetizing).
I'm currently at my grandma's house celebrating Thanksgiving early and went out of my way to dig through her cabinet for a can of cranberry sauce so I could show y'all the back of the label.
As there are only four ingredients in this entire can, you can see that half of this sauce is made of highly processed, genetically modified "sugar substance". I don't know about you, but I'd rather cover my turkey in real cranberry sauce that doesn't contain industrial food products.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce Takes as Little as 3 Ingredients to Make
Especially when it's SUPER simple to make on the stove top. And, as you can see, only a few ingredients are required. You really only need water to create the sauce as the cranberries burst and thicken, plus some form of sweetener to balance out the cranberries' tartness. Extra spices or orange juice are a great way to jazz it up, but totally optional.
How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Learn how to make homemade cranberry sauce using as little as three ingredients in about 15-20 minutes on your stove top. Making it at home lets you control the amount of sugar in the recipe, and skip the corn syrup in the canned versions!
1 package (12 oz) of fresh, whole cranberries
1 to 1/2 cups of purified water (depending on how thick or runny you want the sauce)
3/4 cup of turbinado or organic cane sugar
1 clementine (or small orange), juiced (you can add in the pulp, too)
optional add ins: a few pinches of ground cinnamon & cardamom
small sauce pan
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Measure the water and sugar into a small saucepan. Turn the heat to medium, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved and the water comes to a light boil. Add in the cranberries and return to a gentle boil. Reduce to medium low and let the cranberries simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, or until most of the cranberries have burst and softened.
At this point, you can squeeze in the fresh clementine or orange juice and any other seasonings you'd like to add (again, totally optional). Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool completely before transferring to the refrigerator. As it cools, the sauce will thicken, so re-stir before serving.
Note & Tips
- Don't have a fresh orange or clementine on hand? Try orange juice, just be mindful of the sugar content and know that a little goes a long way.
- If you want to try a more unrefined sweetener in this recipe, honey and real maple syrup are a good option, although they will alter the taste of the cranberry sauce somewhat. If you decide to experiment with this, let me know!
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