Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.
When I was younger, cranberry sauce did not sound appealing at all. The only cranberry sauce I ever experienced was a red, can shaped jelly plopped into a bowl and cut into slices. Not only did that sound absolutely disgusting, but it looked that way too. It wasn’t until just this last few years that I even attempted the red jelly-type stuff, and ended up really enjoying it.
Not only was it nice and sweet, but it added a flavor to each and every bite that I took during my holiday meal. Now I wouldn’t imagine not including this amazing delicacy in my traditional holiday feast. However, the more I learn about food and cooking, the more desirable making my own chunky cranberry sauce has sounded. So, I took the leap this last Thanksgiving and tried making my own clean eating cranberry sauce.
If I liked the canned red jelly, I loved the homemade version! I got a much stronger flavor, real cranberries, and even the added bonus of knowing that I made it myself without any chemicals, preservatives, or refined sugars. Had I known about the healthy qualities of fresh cranberries sooner, and how easy it was to make my own sauce at home, I might have tried it earlier.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
One of the best properties about cranberries is that they have shown the ability to improve multiple aspects of immune function, and to lower the frequency of cold and flu symptoms.
They provide important antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits, cardiovascular protection, and are associated with decreased risk of high blood pressure. They also have the ability to help us lower our LDL-cholesterol and total cholesterol, while simultaneously helping us increase our level of HDL-cholesterol.
The amazing list of anti-cancer properties in cranberries makes it ideal for helping us lower our risk of cancer development.
And when you add up the health-related benefits of cranberry for our mouth and gums (decreased risk of periodontal disease), stomach (decreased risk of stomach ulcer), and colon (decreased risk of colon cancer), it's impossible not to conclude that cranberry is unique among fruits in its ability to provide us with digestive tract benefits.
Let’s look at one of the best ways to use this amazing fruit for our holiday meal.
|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
1 hour 5 min
Serves about 8 people 1/2 cup of sauce
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup raw honey
- 36oz fresh cranberries
- dash cinnamon
- Basic cranberry sauce is much easier than you would expect.
- Begin by washing your fresh cranberries and removing the stems, straining out all extra water in a strainer in the sink.
- In a large sauce pot, or your crockpot, bring your cranberries and water to a boil over medium heat. Your cranberries will start bursting and your sauce will begin to turn red and thicken.
- Add in your 1 cup of honey and cinnamon, and stir until fully dissolved.
- Once your cranberry sauce has been cooking for about 10 minutes in a pot or an hour in the crockpot, take it off of the heat to cool.
- Your cranberry sauce will thicken even more while cooling. You may serve it as is or add any extras you would like. Many people add orange zest, lemon or lime zest, or even chopped pecans.
- You can even embellish your cranberry sauce while cooking by replacing the water in your recipe with orange juice or apple juice, and/or adding in small pieces of fruit to cook with your cranberries, such as apples, oranges, pomegranate seeds, etc.
- For those of you who do not like chunky cranberry sauce, you can even make it transparent and chunk free. To do this, place a large bowl in your sink with a small-holed strainer over the top. (You cannot use a typical pasta strainer for this to work.)
- Pour your finished cranberry sauce into your strainer. Push the juice through with a wooden spoon, smashing out everything that will fit through the strainer sans seeds, skins, etc. Voila! Chunky or clear cranberry sauce, any way you want it!
Although cranberries are not a normally considered fruit option for our daily diets, they really are worth the money when it comes to flavor and our health. As they are not in season year round, I highly suggest picking up a few extra bags of fresh cranberries when they are offered over the holidays, and keeping them in your freezer for use throughout the year.
There are so many delightful ways to use these delicious little berries. There’s no reason you cannot enjoy cranberry pancakes, cranberry syrup, cranberry cookies, cranberry muffins, cranberry brownies, cranberry salsa, cranberry juice, cranberry sangria, and their many uses in all of your main dishes, side dishes, soups, salads, and cocktails whenever you have a craving.
Check out some of these amazing recipes and more by clicking on my profile. I love Thanksgiving so much, I use all of these ingredients in "leftover" meals the whole month of December. I can't wait to bring my homemade cranberry sauce to Thanksgiving this year!!
© 2013 Victoria Van Ness
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on February 24, 2015:
Oh! I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Enjoy your new Thanksgiving addition!
Emilia Riera from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 05, 2014:
I had no idea cranberry sauce was this easy to make. Thanks for sharing!
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on November 28, 2013:
Thanks! I've always had the canned version, but this year I wanted the real thing!
I hope you enjoy it. You'll have to let me know how it turns out for you!
Patsy Bell Hobson from zone 6a, SEMO on November 28, 2013:
I love cranberry anything. Voted up and useful. Pinned.
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on November 25, 2013:
Billy, Thank you! Lol You too! What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish and I'll try better next time. :)
Prasetio, Great! I'm so glad you liked it. What's great is how easily you can make it your own. :) You'll have to tell me how it turns out. Thanks for the wonderful comment.
prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on November 25, 2013:
I love Cranberries. Wow..I found this useful for us who want to try to make it at home. Thanks for writing the step by step instruction. I'll show this hub to my mom. Good job and VOTED UP :-)
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 25, 2013:
You can't tempt me on this one, Victoria. I have never liked cranberries...sorry...I'm sure this is great for those who love them. :) Nice job on the article, though, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on November 25, 2013:
Great! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :) I look forward to posting some great cranberry recipes this summer for all of those freezing cranberries for just such a use.
Thank you for your wonderful comments!
Donna Herron from USA on November 25, 2013:
This recipe sounds delicious. I love the idea of adding orange or apple juice. Will have to put this on the menu for Christmas. Thanks for posting!!