No Thanksgiving table is complete without a beautiful bowl of homemade cranberry sauce. The addition of orange and cinnamon punch up the flavor and modernize an old standard. Whether your family Thanksgiving looks like it came from the pages of the Betty Crocker Cookbook like mine, or is a blend of unique family favorites including mole sauce and chorizo like my husband’s; this cranberry sauce is a beautiful compliment to any Turkey Day meal.
I know the temptation to buy a jar or can of sauce is strong. Making Thanksgiving dinner can be so stressful, and there are a lot of moving parts the day of. You might be trying to organize oven space and stove time. You might just not feel that confident that you can make homemade cranberry sauce, but this recipe is super easy and can be made ahead of time. I have a few tips and pics to help see you through the process.
Make sure to rinse your cranberries before putting them in the pot. Add the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, zest, water, cinnamon sticks, and salt. Then turn the pot on medium heat. You need your mixture to come to a boil and boil hard. This process is a lot like making jam. The cranberries are going to make a lot of liquid, and then the natural pectin in the fruit will make it gel.
I think the scariest part of making homemade cranberry sauce happens about 2/3rds of the way through cooking it. All of a sudden it will start to foam and be really liquid. It is a more orange red color and looks like you dropped a little dish soap in it. If you’ve made jam before, this won’t surprise you in the least, but if you haven’t it is just something that happens to when you boil fruit. Push through unafraid and you will succeed. At this point you can stir it some and help break up the cranberries.
You will know when your sauce is finished because all of the cranberries will be soft or ruptured, the foam will have disappeared, and it will be much thicker. If it hasn’t really gelled up on the stove, do not worry. As the sauce cools, it will firm up the rest of the way.
“Pride slays thanksgiving, but a humble mind is the soil out of which thanks naturally grow. A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves.”