When I started to really get into cooking, I began contributing cranberry sauce to my family’s Thanksgiving table. It seemed to make sense…you know, I was into cooking, so how could I eat jellied cranberry sauce out of a can. But it actually didn’t make sense, because when my mom mentioned that she was going to stop buying the canned stuff, I freaked. I loved it. Couldn’t give it up. No way. It was going to be a two cranberry sauce holiday, and for a few years, it was.
It’s all pretty messed up when I think about it. My first few batches of cranberry sauce were just about as bad as the canned variety. The basic cranberry sauce recipe follows the same basic formula as this recipe, but the ingredients are limited to cranberries, water and white sugar. So it doesn’t come out of a can, and the berries themselves are detectable (as opposed to being a big jiggly heap of sweetenss), but aside from that, I can’t say it’s much better than the prepackaged stuff.
Eventually I started tweaking the recipe, replacing the water with different fruit juices, adding different types of fruit, and throwing in different spices, flavorings, even nuts. It got better. Better enough for me to give up canned cranberry sauce.
This year, since I’ve been on such an apple cider kick, I decided my cranberry sauce needed some, along with some apple chunks.
The “spicy” part of this recipe is new as well. If you’re not into spicy, feel free to skip that part. I used a mild jalapeño and didn’t include the seeds (we’ve got palates of all spiciness preferences at our Thanksgiving table). If you want more spice in your sauce, use extra jalapeños and include the seeds (the spiciest part of the pepper).
- 12 oz. fresh cranberries
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced
- 1 fresh jalapeño pepper, with or without seeds, finely diced
- 1½ cups apple cider
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp. salt
- Place all ingredients in medium saucepan and stir a few times to blend.
- Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and allow to simmer, stirring frequently, until most of the berries have burst and liquid is thick and syrupy, about 10-15 minutes.
- Allow to cool before serving.