Like the vast majority of people these days (or least of Americans), I grew up on cranberry sauce that came out of a can. We had certain, unspoken rules about it in our house. It needed to maintain the shape of the can when put on the serving dish; it needed to be sliced with a knife and not scooped with a spoon; and the kind with whole cranberries was certainly NOT allowed. But, sometime in my early-20’s, I saw an actual, for real recipe for cranberry sauce and was absolutely astonished by how easy it was. It’s ridiculously easy. Like, I-can-make-it-in-the-time-it-would-take-me-to-find-a-can-of-it-in-the-supermarket easy.
I came up with this recipe last year at my wife’s behest. It’s slightly more complicated than the above recipes, but is still pretty simple and doesn’t involve a whole lot of active prep time.
- 1 bag (12 oz.) cranberries
- ¾ cup cider vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 whole Spice Island cloves
- ½ tsp whole white peppercorns
- ½ tsp whole anise seed
- 1 ½ tsp cracked cassia
- 1 tsp dried orange peel
Place spices in a muslin bag, or tie in cheese cloth. Add vinegar, spices and sugar to a sauce pan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cranberries and cook until berries just begin to burst. About 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and transfer to a nonreactive bowl. Cover and let sit overnight. Remove spice bag and refrigerate. As with so many other recipes, after a couple of days the flavors will become really good friends.
Post Script: I just showed my kid a picture of sliced, canned cranberry sauce. She thought it looked ridiculous.