We’re coming at you lots this week: Cranberries today, swiss beans tomorrow and spicy pumpkin pie on Wednesday.
When I decided that I could be a scratch cooking diva in the kitchen, cranberries were my first throw down.
“How hard can it be?” I asked my cousin over a bottle of wine the night before Thanksgiving, 1998.
Well, you can buy a can of cranberry sauce—or worse, that jelly stuff—that may have been fresh six months ago. Or you can buy a bag of cranberries, throw them in a pot with a cup of water and a cup of sugar and cook for ten minutes. Viola! Cranberry sauce.
That’s all it takes. To make it more exciting, I recommend you ask someone in the house if they want to taste a raw cranberry. Those shiny red berries are hard to resist. My cousin is still mad about that one.
Since then, I found two go-to cranberry sauce recipes. I make one or both every year, whether we do turkey or ham. And it turns out that cranberries are super healthy and cancer fighting. Bonus!
The first is a cranberry apricot sauce to serve as a side dish:
California Apricot Cranberry Sauce
½ cup dried apricot halves, cut into strips
¾ cup cranberry juice cocktail
1 12 oz bag fresh cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp minced ginger (use fresh for a strong taste, dried for a lighter taste)
Soak apricots in cranberry juice in a saucepan for ten minutes to soften. Add cranberries, sugar and ginger. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to medium and cook uncovered for ten minutes until cranberries pop and sauce thickens.
Cover and refrigerate until well-chilled, about 3 hours.
The second is an orange cranberry Dijon mustard to serve as a relish. This is unbelievable on a slice of ham or a turkey leftover sandwich:
12 oz bag fresh cranberries
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
½ cup orange juice
2 tsp grated orange zest
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tbsp unsalted butter
Place cranberries, sugar, water, orange juice and zest in saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to medium low. Cook until berries pop and sauce thickens.
Remove from heat. Stir in mustard and butter. Cool and serve.
You could even make these tonight or tomorrow and put them in the fridge. They keep!