Growing up, all I knew of cranberry sauce was the jellied variety in the can. Cranberry jelly accompanied all our holiday meals at Thanksgiving as well as Christmas through the years and was a holiday table staple. Once I started to pay more attention to the ingredients I was consuming, I was shocked to realize it was basically sugar and more sugar.
This year, I wanted to make a homemade version I would feel good about eating. I also aimed to create a recipe that embraces the tartness of the cranberry while using fruit juices and natural sweeteners to highlight the berry itself.
I prefer my cranberry sauce with smashed whole berries for texture purposes and so I know I am consuming the real deal! If you like nuts in your cranberry sauce, chopped pecans or walnuts would be lovely additions to this homemade condiment.
Orange-Scented Cranberry Sauce
2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (I bet you could use frozen too)
4-6 Tbsp coconut palm sugar, honey, agave OR 9-11 medjool dates OR a combo (adjust sweetness to taste if too tart)
pinch of sea salt
1/2 cup orange juice (can be subbed with apple juice if desired)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, optional (ginger or other sweet spice would be great too for a different variation)
For a stronger orange flavor, add a teaspoon or orange zest
For a different flavor, add 1 or 2 diced apples to cook alongside the berries
For a chutney, add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans after cooking
1. In a medium saucepan, add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir and reduce heat to bring to a simmer on medium-low and let cook for about 10 to 12 minutes.
2. Halfway through cooking (5-6 minutes) use a fork or a spoon to mash berries and release more of their juices. Let cook for another 5 minutes, occassionally stirring and mashing until thick. (sauce will thicken more as it cools)
3. Serve immediately warm or refrigerate until ready to serve for a chilled sauce. Heat on low to reheat if preferred warm and enjoy!
*If using dates for your sweetener, soak them until soft and puree them along with the orange juice before cooking.
Serve this cranberry sauce over stuffing, roasted meat or even a veggie burger (recipe to come)!