I have all sorts of warm fuzzy holiday memories of sitting around my grandparents creaky dinning room table. The good china plates beautiful in their own right sat ready to be buried under our feast. Grandma’s good flatware, not silver but gold, twinkled in the light of taper candles. Before we could squeeze in around the table we each participated in parading the serving dishes from their warm spots around the kitchen stove.
Grandma seemed to like two things, variety and using up every last drop from a jar or bottle. Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinners were her Super Bowl of condiment usage. Once the large casseroles and silver serving bowls were settled on the table, every remaining nook and cranny was filled in with something sweet or savory to accessorize the meal. At least a dozen little dishes sporting tiny spoons held mustard, olives, tiny pickles, horseradish, and of course cranberry sauce.
The featured cranberry sauce was the good old can shaped jellied log. The jellied cranberry was Grandpa’s favorite and he would slice off a substantial round and tuck it on the side of his plate with a smile and a wink to my sister and I. Grandma was not a fan of the gelatinous condiment. She would try to woo the rest of us with at least one dish of sauce that featured identifiable berries. For the most part I remember the family following Grandpa’s example and slicing our cranberries according to the lines left by the can.
I am not sure when we last had a dish of gelatinous sauce on our holiday table. At some point along the way I realized how much better a sauce of fresh berries tasted. I also figured out how easy it is to make this staple side. Through out the cranberry season I keep a bag of berries in my produce drawer to simmer into a sweet tart condiment good with everything from breakfast through dessert. In the time it takes to fire off a batch of pancakes I can make a delicious, from scratch, sauce to heap over top of them. I stir the leftovers into yogurt, spread it on sandwiches, scoop it up with roasts and dollop it over pies. – BTW this cranberry sauce is bonkers good with the Crustless Pumpkin Pie I shared with you earlier.
When you check cranberry sauce off your list this year, do it from the produce section not the canned goods aisle. If you have never made your own cranberry sauce this is your year. Give it a try and you may never eat fruit shaped like a can again. Grandma and I will be very proud!
Maple-Orange Cranberry Sauce
Recipe makes approximately two cups or 8 1/4-cup servings of sauce. Prep and cook time: approximately 15 minutes.
• 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
• 3/4 cups water
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 2 teaspoons orange zest
1. Use a pot with high sides to keep any splatter in the pot. A 3 quart sauce pan or pot works well.
2. Combine the cranberries and water in the pot and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat, takes just a few minutes.
3. Once the sauce begins to bubble reduce the heat to low and stir in the syrup and orange zest. The sauce will be very hot, use care to avoid any splatter coming into contact with your skin.
4. Let the sauce simmer on low heat stirring frequently. Remove from the heat when the sauce has thickened to a jam like consistency, should take 5 – 10 minutes.
5. Serve warm or cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating up to a week.
Per serving: 40 calories, .1 g. fat, 10 g. carbohydrates, 1.4 g. fiber, .1 protein, PP = 1
Read more from Rose McAvoy at Our Lady of Second Helpings.