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This easy Cranberry sauce is a delicious concoction made from fresh, seasonal or frozen cranberries. Some sugar is added to tame the tartness of the berries, while warm spices like cinnamon and star anise infuse together with the juice and peel of fresh orange, creating a perfectly balanced condiment.
Surprisingly easy to whip up, this recipe can be ready in under an hour, or even just 30 minutes if you’re a speedy chef!
Planning ahead not only grants you more precious time to focus on the main festive meal but also allows the cranberry sauce to develop a deeper, more complex taste.
Is cranberry sauce gluten-free?
Cranberry sauce made from scratch is naturally gluten-free. However, if you’re thinking of purchasing a pre-made sauce, be sure to scrutinize the label for any hidden gluten, as certain brands may use flour as a thickening agent.
By making it at home, you can enjoy a sauce that is not only free from preservatives but also typically lower in salt and sugar, making it a healthier choice.
Cranberry Sauce Textures:
Creating the perfect cranberry sauce is an art of texture – a personal choice of thick or thin, chunky or smooth.
When cooking the cranberries, they gently pop, collapse, and retain a slightly intact texture – ideal for those who enjoy a hearty, chunky sauce. For a thicker consistency, allow the sauce to cook down for a few extra minutes or reduce the amount of orange juice added.
To achieve a silky smooth texture, transfer the cooled, cooked cranberry sauce to a blender or use a stick blender (remember to remove the cinnamon stick, star anise, and orange slice). Blitz until the sauce reaches a smooth consistency. To lighten the sauce, simply add a teaspoon or two of boiling water and mix well. Adjust the water quantity as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
Which is better: fresh or frozen cranberries?
Both options yield delicious results, but there are a few factors to consider. Frozen cranberries may require some planning ahead to defrost or cook them directly from frozen. However, they may take a few extra minutes to cook down. On the other hand, fresh cranberries are typically available in most Northern Hemisphere countries from October to the rest of winter, making them a logical choice. For those in the Southern Hemisphere, opting for frozen cranberries is a sensible decision.
Ways to enjoy cranberry sauce:
Cranberry sauce is the beloved companion and essential condiment to many a festive feast.
It also makes an excellent addition to a cheese board, particularly when paired with creamy Brie or Camembert.
For a gourmet touch, blend some leftover cranberry sauce with your preferred mayonnaise to create a spread for your turkey sandwiches.
Easy Cranberry Sauce
- handheld stick blender to puree the sauce (optional)
- 1 tbsp butter
- 250 g fresh or frozen whole cranberries
- 2 tsp shallots, chopped finely
- 125 g white or caster sugar
- 1 orange, juiced and grated zest
- 1 sliver orange zest
- 1 whole cinnamon stick
- 1 whole star anise
- ½ tsp salt
- Melt the butter gently in a small saucepan.
- Add the chopped shallots and fry over medium heat for 5 minutes.
- Once the shallots are ready, add the cranberries and the remaining ingredients to the pan.
- Mixing often, cook for 20 minutes until the cranberries have softened and the sauce has reduced slightly.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool down completely before removing and discarding the sliver of orange peel, cinnamon stick and star anise.
- Either keep the cranberry sauce chunky or puree the sauce until completely smooth.
- Transfer the cranberry sauce to a serving bowl, cover and set it aside at room temperature. If preparing weeks in advance, store in a sterilised jar and chill.
- Keeps for 3 weeks, chilled in sealed sterilised glass jars.
- Once opened, keeps for 10 days chilled
- Suitable to freeze, but the flavour will not develop as well as in the fridge.