Click to View Latest IssueClick to View Latest Issue

Cranberries and Thanksgiving

By  0 Comments

Every Thanksgiving, we all get together for a traditional dinner. No, we don’t deep fry the turkey or smoke it or even barbeque it; we stuff it with cornbread dressing and roast it in the oven. The smell penetrates the entire house—well, now my oldest daughter’s house. She has taken on the holiday of Thanksgiving for the family.

The hard part for this mom was letting go and letting her take over. So, I came up with a plan. For the last four years I have come up with something new to bring to the traditional table. Maybe it’s not so new, but I started canning my own cranberry sauce. It seemed to be a hit and it made me feel that I had something no one else had to bring to our family feast.

Homemade Jellied Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Makes 2 pints
5 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups water
2½ cups sugar
1 large piece of orange rind
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick

Wash and drain cranberries. Pick through them and discard any that are under ripe or overripe. I use a baking sheet to do this, spreading them out in a single layer that makes it easy to pick out the overripe ones. Combine the cranberries and water in a large saucepan. Boil over medium to medium-high heat until the skins burst on the cranberries. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes, and you will hear the berries popping. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a large food processor and purée until smooth. Return the cranberry mixture to the saucepan. Place the orange rind studded with the whole cloves and the cinnamon stick into a small piece of cheesecloth and tie with twine. Add the spice bag and the sugar to the saucepan and return to a boil over medium to medium-high heat. Boil almost to the gelling point (220°F at sea level). This will take about 15 to 20 minutes. You can use a candy thermometer or gelling tests using a spoon or plate. The mixture will be thick, dark burgundy red and glossy. Turn off the heat, remove the spice bag, and ladle the sauce into hot jars, leaving a quarter-inch head space. Another bit of advice is to use a jar that doesn’t have a neck so it will slide out of the jar onto the plate for serving. I use widemouthed pints for this and it works perfectly. Adjust the 2-piece caps and process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Notes: The spice bag is optional. The cranberry sauce tastes great plain, too. If you do not wish to use the canning method to preserve the cranberry sauce, you may store it in the refrigerator after cooling to room temperature.