Like many home cooks out there, I always assumed it would be difficult to make your own cranberry sauce. The process had to be complicated and who has time to deal with fussy side dishes on the holidays?
I carried on in ignorance until I randomly came upon an old fashioned cranberry sauce recipe, posted by a like-minded blogger. Suddenly, I knew I wanted to try!
The Essentials for Making Cranberry Sauce
What changed my mind? I realized making your own cranberry sauce takes about 25-30 minutes. The ingredients are very basic, you can use alternative sweeteners and it can be made ahead of time! Here are the ingredients you need.
Find Yourself Some Frozen Cranberries
Most grocery stores carry whole, frozen cranberries during the winter holidays. Check in the frozen fruit section and for this recipe, purchase a 340 gm (12 oz) bag.
Cranberries should be in whole, raw form.
Choose A Sweetener
On their own, cranberries are bitter and unpalatable. If they’re going to be enjoyed in a sauce, they need to be sweetened! In this old fashioned cranberry sauce recipe, you can use granulated sugar, honey, maple syrup or any other sweetener you favor!
Decide On a Fruit Juice
While you don’t have to add fruit juice to your cranberry sauce, it does create a richer flavor. Orange juice is a common choice. If you’re a home canner, consider using purple syrup from a jar of your home canned plums! It’s a personal favorite o’ mine!
Are you ready? Let’s take a look at how this old fashioned recipe comes together!
An Old Fashioned Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Once you have the supplies on hand, it’s time to make your cranberry sauce! I’m going to give you a brief overview with photos. Know that there’s a printable recipe for you at the bottom of this page!
Step 1: Place Cranberries and Juice In a Small Pot
You don’t need thawed berries for this recipe. Empty the bag into a small pot and add 1/2 C of fruit juice. Bring the goods to a simmer under medium-high heat. Cook, until the berries soften and sag.
Step 2: Add Honey or Sweetener of Choice
Once the fruit has started sagging, it’s time to add a bit of sweetness! Measure out 1/2 C of honey, maple syrup or whichever sweetener you prefer. Mix it into the berries and simmer for another 5-7 minutes.
Be sure to stir during this time!
Step 3: Simmer Until Thickening Occurs
Cranberries contain natural pectin, which is why you don’t need to add thickening agents to your sauce. Just let it simmer until juices start to thicken a wee bit.
Remove from heat. Cool. And refrigerate until ready to use. Once chilled, it’ll darken in color and set up even more!
Step 4: Little Things to Be Aware Of
The first thing you need to know is that this sauce won’t be the quivering, jelly mass you’re accustomed to popping out of a can! Thick, yes. Jello like? Not so much!
You should also know that the longer it sits, the stronger it’s flavor becomes! I like to refrigerate my sauce for 4-5 days before using. Instead of tasting like sweetened fruit, you’ll get that after-taste of faint bitterness that pairs so well with the holiday turkey!
Give It a Try This Year!
What are you waiting for? Give this old fashioned cranberry sauce recipe a try! See if it’s something you and your family enjoy, if it’s worth adopting as one of your holiday traditions!
Old Fashioned Cranberry Sauce
- 340 gm or 12 oz cranberries
- 1/2 C fruit juice
- 1/2 C honey
- Place cranberries in a small pot and add fruit juice.
- Turn your stove top burner to medium high and heat berries until they begin to simmer.
- Cook for 15-20 minutes, until berries soften and split.
- Add honey or your sweetener of choice. Stir it.
- Simmer for another 5-7 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remember it WILL thicken as it cools!
- Let the sauce cool. Refrigerate up to 10 days. Serve cold.