Thanksgiving came and went but we know Turkey’s are still sweating as the next big holiday is right around the corner! Oftentimes, the meal eaten on this day is similar, if not identical, to what people tend to make for their Thanksgiving feast. A few staples that deserve to be repeated are cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes!
Today we will focus on one of the most delicious side dishes ever created! Something you probably grew up eating but never realized how special it truly is. Cranberry sauce dates back centuries to when Indigenous Americans first shared it with early colonists. During this time period, Native Americans often prepared cranberries as a compliment to turkey and other game meats. Cranberry sauce, as we know it today, is often associated with a can.
That said, beware of most canned cranberry sauce as it contains very few actual cranberries. The bulk of the substance is made up of high fructose corn syrup, a toxic by-product of genetically modified corn which, if you have read previous blogs here, is not what you want to be putting in your body. Cranberries are a “superfood” high in antioxidants and nutrients. In many cases, they have been shown to lower the risk of urinary tract infections (UTI), prevent certain types of cancer, improve immune function, and decrease blood pressure. This is why it is so important to consume it in its truest form.
Preparing homemade cranberry sauce is extremely simple. Like any recipe, you can customize it to fit your taste buds! Some may like it bitter whereas others prefer it on the sweeter side. Here in North America, we see this dish as something to satisfy that sweet tooth. However, in other regions of the world, like Europe, it is made to taste more sour. You can also add other berries besides cranberries for added texture. Some even add nuts if you are feeling particularly…nutty!
Here is a simple recipe to get you started:
- Rinse cranberries: Place the cranberries in a colander and rinse them. Pick out and discard any damaged or bruised cranberries. Boil water with sugar (ideally a healthier sugar alternative like organic coconut sugar):
- Add cranberries, cook until they burst:
Add the cranberries to the pot and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst.
- Stir in mix-ins, if using:
Once the cranberries have burst you can leave the cranberry sauce as is, or dress it up with other ingredients. We like to mix in a half a cup of chopped pecans and a pinch or two of orange zest. Some people like adding raisins or currants, or even blueberries for added sweetness. You can also add holiday spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice. If adding spices, start with a pinch of each and add more to your taste.
- Put the water and sugar in a medium saucepan on high heat and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
- This tends to be a sweeter dish, though you can cut down the sugar if you prefer a more tart sauce. Either way, consume in moderation if you want to keep your sugar intake low, and feel free to use your favorite sugar substitute instead
- Let cool:
Remove the pot from heat. Let cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to a bowl to chill in the refrigerator. Note that the cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.
Have a Berry Merry holiday season!
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Bauer, E. (2022, January 3). Cranberry Sauce. Simply Recipes. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/cranberry_sauce/
MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Cranberries: Benefits, nutrition, and risks. Medical News Today. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269142
Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, December 2). Cranberry Sauce. Wikipedia. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cranberry_sauce