Hands down, the single easiest way to improve a holiday meal is to add homemade cranberry sauce.
Please don’t make the mistake of associating this special treat with that jellied cranberry stuff that comes in a can. The two aren’t even related. Real homemade cranberry sauce is to canned cranberry sauce what freshly sliced garden-grown tomatoes are to canned stewed tomatoes–they each claim to have some of the same stuff, but you would never make the mistake of pouring stewed tomatoes onto your ham sandwich.
The unmistakable splash of deep red and the distinctive sweet tartness of fresh cranberry sauce is unlike anything else on your Christmas table. The good news is that homemade cranberry sauce is also probably the easiest thing you’ll make.
It’s almost as easy as boiling water.
Homemade cranberry sauce has just three ingredients:
1. 12 oz bag (about 3 cups) of fresh or frozen cranberries
2. 1 cup water
3. 1 cup sugar
The directions are just as simple as the ingredients.
1. In a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar into the water.
2. Add cranberries and bring to a boil.
3. Boil softly for five or ten minutes, until almost all of the berries are popped. There will be a few whole berries still, but the sauce is done if those whole berries pop when you gently squeeze them against the side of the saucepan with a spoon.
Set the sauce aside to cool. When it’s down to room temperate, stick it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to put it on the table.
Eat your homemade cranberry sauce on your meat, on potatoes, with rolls, as it’s own small side, or on sandwiches with holiday meal leftovers. You really can’t go wrong combining it with anything.
Because cranberry sauce is best after being thoroughly chilled, it’s a great dish to make the day before, or even a few days before, your big meal. That means it adds to your dinner without adding to your kitchen work on the day of dinner itself.
We usually use double or triple the recipe to make sure we have enough to feed everyone and still have some leftovers.
So when you’re getting ready for Christmas dinner this year, grab some fresh cranberries and enjoy homemade cranberry sauce!
I make homemade cranberry sauce and serve it over a block of cream cheese with crackers for a great appetizer.