Real Cranberries – not as hard as you think!

by on November 22, 2008 in Meal Planning & Recipes

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For me, growing up, cranberries were always something that came out of a can, usually as semi-solid jelly in the shape of the can itself. Don’t get me wrong, those cranberries are just fine and are super easy to make – open, dump, slice, serve!

However, when I got married, my mother-in-law taught me how to make real cranberry sauce and I have been making it that way ever since. My husband loves it, and I actually prefer it. If people knew how simple it was, they might consider making it.

So, I have decided to post my recipe!

Real Cranberry Sauce:

You need:

  • 1 bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. water

You can store the bag of cranberries in the freezer until you are ready to use them, which is handy. I buy the 12 oz. bags that are common in the store this time of year. Actually I buy at least two bags, and then I make one for Thanksgiving and one later in the week for leftovers, because there is nothing better than a turkey and cranberry sandwich!

To prepare sauce:

  • Put the frozen (or fresh if you didn’t freeze them) cranberries into a saucepan on the stove with the cup of water and the cup of sugar over medium to medium-high heat.
  • Stir the cranberries as they begin to heat up.
  • Eventually they will get hot enough to start popping and splitting their skins. Keep stirring constantly once they start popping.
  • As more and more pop, the sugar and water start mixing with them to make them thicker. You will want to turn the heat down some (maybe to medium), but keep stirring.
  • You should also take the back of your spoon and press the cranberries against the side of the pan to really smash them and mush them all into jelly. It is okay to have a few whole cranberries, but the goal is for them all to smash or at least split so the jelly isn’t too chunky.
  • You may see a pink “foam” start to form as you are stirring. Just turn the heat down more and keep stirring.
  • Once everything is all smashed together to your desired jelly consistency, pour the mixture (VERY HOT!!!) into a glass bowl and let it cool on the counter.
  • You can give it a stir every now and then in case there is any cranberry foam still on top, and then put it into the refrigerator when it is cool enough. Be very careful with the mixture when it is hot though…cranberry jelly burns like all get out!

If you haven’t tried making fresh cranberries, you really should.  It is so tasty with stuffing and turkey, and great on sandwiches! It keeps up to a week or more when sealed in the fridge, and can be made in advance of the big day.


[note: this post was originally written on my personal blog, and has been shared here because the content is relevant to the journey I have been on to reshape my attitude toward spending, saving and managing my resources more wisely. It is possible that additional edits may have been made to clarify or expand points.]

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