I might be crazy this week, guys. I spent a few hours in the kitchen yesterday prepping an ENTIRE Thanksgiving feast for funzies (expect a bunch of seasonally appropriate recipes coming this month!). This homemade cranberry sauce was probably the easiest thing I made. So, I’m popping it on the blog for you today!
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Let’s talk cranberries
I wouldn’t consider myself a huge cranberry fan, but I definitely find myself gravitating to them more often come November.
Not only are they incredibly festive looking, they taste great with a little turkey and mashed taters (or, in my case mashed-cauli) and add a super Christmassy touch, when you add frozen cranberries to a glass of Prosecco (mmmm, Prosecco is my fave!)
And, did you know that cranberries are considered a superfood? They are actually loaded with nutrients and can whip a UTI into shape within hours. They enhance oral health, slow the progression of cancer AND reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. So, you know. They’re pretty damn awesome, which is another reason they are the star of this homemade cranberry sauce:)
Use sugar…or don’t (I didn’t)
Most homemade cranberry sauce recipes call for a boatload of sugar. And, I mean…it makes sense because cranberries are incredibly tart. The good news is that if you are avoiding added sugar, you can still sweeten up your homemade cranberry sauce with a substitute.
I ended up using a quarter cup of Swerve for this recipe (all I had was confectioner’s style, but granular would work too!). But, whether you are using regular ol’ sugar or a substitute (erythritol, stevia…) I definitely recommend starting off with a couple of tablespoons, tasting and adding as needed.
There’s no reason to overpower your sauce with sugar (I mean, you do want to taste some of that delicious, tart cranberry-Dontcha’?) and depending upon how tart the variety is that you’re using, you may not need as much as you think. So, start small, taste and add as you go (same philosophy I had when making this family-friendly chili).
bring it to a boil
When I say this homemade cranberry sauce recipe is foolproof, I totally mean it. Literally, all you do is dump a bag (about 12 ounces) of cranberries in a medium-size saucepan with about 3/4 cups of water and bring it to a boil.
Once your cranberries are boiling up a storm, reduce your heat to low, cover and let them simmer for around 10 minutes. I make the habit of checking on them and giving them a quick stir every few minutes – mostly because I’m impatient and want to know what’s happening there under the lid.
Wait til’ they pop
Your homemade cranberry sauce will be done once those pretty little berries get to poppin’. You’ll notice that as you let them simmer, they start getting mushy-ish, while still maintaining most of their form. Towards the end (when they are ready), you’ll actually see that some (not all) of the berries will be bursting open. This is when you can start using your spoon to “smoosh” them (very, very technical term) to the desired consistency. I like my homemade cranberry sauce mostly fluid, with a few bits of cranberry throughout for texture. But, you can make yours however you choose – you don’t have to smoosh at all if you don’t want to!
Add a little zest
I chose to add a quick squeeze from a clementine (I didn’t have any oranges or I would’ve used those) and a teeny-tiny bit of clementine zest to add a little depth to the flavor. But, if you’re eating keto and avoiding anything citrus, feel free to omit this element.
You can totally play around with this recipe and add a bunch of different things to make it a bit more festive. Some people add honey or maple syrup, while others add pears, apples, cinnamon, and orange. My goal was to create a super easy homemade cranberry sauce that was free from sugar and low carb to suit the way my family eats.
How to store it
While you can store homemade cranberry sauce for up to a year if you can them properly, I decided to store mine in mason jars in the fridge for the next few weeks.
If you make a big batch of it and want to use it for something else down the road (stay tuned for a simple cranberry sauce muffin recipe!), you can also freeze it for a couple of months, either in heavy-duty freezer bags (great for space-saving) or airtight containers.
Homemade cranberry sauce recipe
The recipe to make my homemade cranberry sauce is below! This is perfect for anyone wishing to savor the flavor of delicious cranberries at the Thanksgiving or Christmas table this season 🙂 And, I mean…it’s so easy, why wouldn’t you?
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