My family never ate any cranberry sauce that was homemade. In the preparations for Thanksgiving, someone was always assigned the task of bringing two cans of jellied and one of whole berry cranberry sauce. And you couldn’t try and pull a fast one by buying store brand. It had to be Ocean Spray on Grandma’s Thanksgiving table!
When I began cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my own family I automatically followed the same routine until I became obsessed with the Food Network a few years back and made my first foray into making cranberry sauce from scratch.
For the first few years, I stuck with the basic “back of the package” recipe:
- 1 Cup Water
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 – 12 oz bag of whole fresh cranberries
Boil sugar and water, add cranberries and cook 10 minutes over a slow boil until berries have popped, refrigerate until time to serve. *If you wanted it jellied you strained out the berry solids and skins using a mesh strainer before refrigerating.
This year I put some time and creativity into the preparation and came up with a winner:
Zinful Cran-Blueberry Sauce
- 1 & 1/3 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 1 Cup Zinfandel Wine (Best Quality you can afford – if you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it)
- 1 – 12 oz Package Ocean Spray Fresh Whole Cranberries
- 1 Cup Frozen Blueberries
- 1 Whole Cinnamon Stick
- 1/4 tsp Nutmeg
- Orange or Tangerine Zest
Bring sugar, wine and cinnamon stick to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add remaining ingredients and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer 15-20 minutes. You may want to use a splatter shield to avoid splashing when cranberries pop. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Cool slightly then move sauce to serving dish. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and serve cold. Sauce will thicken up as it cools. Garnish with a few cranberries, blueberries and curls of zest.
Tomorrow I am attacking the bird, the stuffing and the gravy!
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