Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thanksgiving Mania Begins

My family loves cranberries of all kinds at Thanksgiving. We always had to have both the whole berry kind and the kind that comes out shaped like a can. Actually, we have to have 2 cans of the jellied kind every year because once, in the 40 year history of my Thanksgivings, my mother forgot to get the jellied kind and ever since then, someone always brings an emergency, back-up can.

One year I decided to get all fancy and make the whole berry sauce from scratch, which is when I discovered that making cranberry sauce from scratch is idiot simple. So after the first year when I just used the recipe on the bag, I started playing with the recipe and this is what I make now.


  • 2 tangerines    
  • ¾ cup sugar    
  • 1-12 oz. package of fresh cranberries    
  • 1 tbsp crystallized ginger


Slice the crystallized ginger into thin strips. Zest the oranges and juice them. Add enough water to the orange juice to make 1 cup total. Add sugar, zest, ginger, and orange juice to a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook it until it is the consistency you like. If you prefer your berries almost fresh, take it off the heat as soon as they pop (about 5 minutes.) if you like a much more jelly-like sauce, cook it down for 15. Pour the sauce into a bowl, let it cool down to room temperature and then refrigerate until Thanksgiving.


The first year I made this, I got out my fancy zester and made the long, pretty orange zest curls. The flavor was great but a few members of my family mentioned that they didn't taste so great. So now I use my vegetable peeler and cut off big sheets at a time that are much easier to avoid biting into. If you are putting this sauce on a Thanksgiving table that strives to look like it came from the pages of Gourmet Magazine, go for the fancy curls. If your family is more into power eating than appearance, go for the big sheets of zest.

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