Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Naturally sweetened with orange juice and maple syrup, this Cranberry Sauce is so stupid easy to make and tastes so much better than the sugar-laden storebought stuff… Plus, it can – and even should – be made ahead of time, so there are no excuses not to make your own!
Cranberry Sauce is a sacrosanct Christmas tradition in this family… Funny thing though is the tradition seems to be me making it, and then completely forgetting to put it on the table on Christmas day! Yeah… that’s actually happened a few times!
But then we eat it for breakfast on toasts in the following weeks. If you’ve never tried that, you really have to! Now I’m not saying that you too should start making cranberry sauce only to forget to serve it to your family and guests on Christmas night, but keep this in mind as the perfect solution when comes time to use any potential leftovers!
This cranberry sauce is totally heavenly, not only on toasts but with your Holiday feast as well… The combination of orange, maple and cranberry, and the nice little touch of vanilla, work so incredibly well together and tastes just like Christmas. Plus, since it isn’t loaded with all kinds of nasty sugars, it isn’t overly sweet but rather retains all the natural tartness and tanginess of the cranberries. All very yummy stuff, really!
So yummy in fact, you might be tempted to make it year ’round.
To start, place all the ingredients except the vanilla extract in a medium saucepan.
- a pound and a half of cranberries — you can use fresh or frozen, that makes absolutely no difference at all
- a cup and a half of natural, unsweetened orange juice
- a half cup of pure maple syrup
- a teaspoon of lemon juice
- a quarter of a teaspoon of salt
Bring that to a boil over medium-high heat; be sure to keep a close eye on things, though… as the syrup heats up, the cranberries will start popping, one after the other. That is totally normal and actually cool to watch and especially listen to…
What’s a little less cool is that the syrup will have a tendency to rise rather rapidly as it starts boiling, and might very well boil over if left unchecked.
You’ll also notice that the mixture will foam up quite a lot, too. That’s not a cause for concern and there is no need to skim this foam; it will eventually resorb on its own…
As soon as the syrup starts to boil, you’ll want to turn the heat way down to a gentle boil and continue cooking your cranberry sauce, stirring from time to time, until the mixture has reduced to a thick vibrant red jam-like sauce, about 7 to 10 minutes.
And that’s pretty much all there is to it… Remove the pot from the heat source, stir in the vanilla extract and let the sauce cool down to room temperature…
Then, transfer your finished cranberry sauce to an airtight container and place it in the fridge to chill completely, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight. The sauce will become much thicker and tastier once chilled, and even more so after it’s had a chance to mature for a couple of days.
Stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, it will keep for up to a month so really, don’t hesitate to prepare your cranberry sauce way ahead of time.
Just don’t forget to take it out come Christmas night…
Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- Place the cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, lemon juice and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Keep a close eye on things: the cranberries will start to pop and the syrup will rise quite rapidly and might boil over if left unchecked.
- As soon as the syrup starts to boil, turn the heat way down to a gentle boil and continue cooking, stirring from time to time, until the mixture has reduced to a thick vibrant red jam-like sauce, about 7 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in the vanilla extract and let the sauce come down to room temperature then transfer it to an airtight container and place in the fridge to chill completely, at least 4 hours but preferably overnight. The sauce will be much thicker, and tastier, once chilled, and even more so after it’s had a chance to mature for a couple of days, so don’t hesitate to prepare this cranberry sauce way ahead of time.
- Stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container, it will keep for up to a month.