When I made up our easy peasy CrockPot Turkey and Dressing on Friday, I decided to try my hand at making some homemade Cranberry Sauce to go along with.
Most of us have grown up with — or at least have had — the jellied cranberry sauce that comes in a can:
I’ve even heard some folks say, jokingly but with all sincerity, that they only like cranberry sauce if it has the lines in it from the can. 😉
As Wikipedia tells us:
Cranberries are a major commercial crop in certain American states and Canadian provinces (see cultivation and uses below). Most cranberries are processed into products such as juice, sauce, jam and sweetened dried cranberries, with the remainder sold fresh to consumers. Cranberry sauce is regarded an indispensable part of traditional American and Canadian Thanksgiving menus and someEuropean winter festivals….
Usually cranberries as fruit are cooked into a compote or jelly, known as cranberry sauce. Such preparations are traditionally served with roast turkey, as a staple of English Christmas dinners, and the Canadian and US holiday Thanksgiving. The berry is also used in baking (muffins, scones and cakes). Less commonly, innovative cooks use cranberries to add tartness to savory dishes such as soups and stews.
Cranberries are a generally nutritious food:
Raw cranberries are a source of polyphenol antioxidants, phytochemicals under active research for possible benefits to the cardiovascular system and immune system, and as anti-cancer agents, such as in isolated prostate cancer cells. Although polyphenols have antioxidant effects in vitro, they can act as pro-oxidants in others.[clarification needed] In addition, it is uncertain whether polyphenols and flavonoids account for the benefits of diets rich in plant-derived foods.
Cranberry juice contains a high molecular weight non-dializable material that might inhibit formation of plaque by Streptococcus mutans pathogens that cause tooth decay. Cranberry juice components also may possibly influence formation of kidney stones.
However, the commercially-made cranberry jelly or cranberry sauce is hardly what one would call nutritious — a 1/4 cup serving is 110 calories and 25 grams of carbs — 21 of those being sugar.
So, encouraged by the easy-sounding recipe in a back issue of one of my Diabetic Cooking magazines, I drug out the remains of a package of fresh cranberries I had in the freezer and made Cranberry Sauce — and let me tell you, it was as easy as opening a can of sauce (easier, actually, as my can opener is sometimes fussy), and it was most assuredly yummier and fresher tasting. I mean, look at it that picture of that yummy sauce in one of my eclectic array of family dishes from my china cabinet — doesn’t it make your mouth water?
And as each 1/4 cup serving is only 15 calories and 4 grams of carbs, it counts as a free food!
It is relatively easy to reduce or increase the yield, and you can also adjust the amount of sweetener to make it sweeter or more tart — your preference!
Leftovers are great as a spread on turkey sandwiches — or spread it on pancakes, waffles, or toast!
Seriously, give this a try the next time you have a hankering for some Cranberry Sauce — never, in your wildest Dreams, would you have thought that anything so simple could be so yummy! (Go on, take 4 and 1/2 minutes out of your day and enjoy this beautiful song — you know you want to!)
Cranberry Sauce (Serves 6)
- Approximately 2 cups (8 to 9 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 2/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup of Splenda Granular (measures for measure like sugar) or the equivalent of 2/3 cup of your favorite artificial sweetener (or more or less to taste, depending upon how sweet or tart you want it)
- Combine cranberries and water in a medium saucepan.
- Bring just to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until most of the skins have popped, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Mash slightly. Stir in sweetener. Cover and chill.
- Keep refrigerated.