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Cranberries: The Food That Keeps Giving


Cranberries: The Food That Keeps Giving


Photos and Words by Hannah Allen

Have you been stuck with canned cranberry sauce for years because they real-deal seemed too difficult to make? Looking for something to put on the Thanksgiving table that’s a little less sugar and a little more natural? Well then, I have the perfect recipe to show you just how easy it can be to make a cranberry sauce so natural and healthy, you’ll never go back to the Ocean Spray can again.

My aunt and I discovered this recipe one Thanksgiving as we tried to find ways to cut the excessive sugar from our holiday meal. Neither of us is very fond of canned products so we offered to make homemade cranberry sauce for the feast; thus started the obsession. It was a hit amongst the family--they demand pounds of it every year--and I now periodically make this in my apartment over the course of the winter and eat it throughout the week--as a snack, on sandwiches, you name it. You can freeze it and save for later, bring it to your holiday parties or just keep some in your fridge for a little after-dinner snack. The ingredients are decently cheap and the recipe is simple enough for any college student to whip up without burning a building to the ground.

Making homemade cranberry sauce opens up a world of healthier doors--in contrast to buying the jellied form, where health benefits are oftentimes buried under an avalanche of sugar. Can-buyers miss out on the goodies: the naturally high levels of disease fighting antioxidants in cranberries, plus all that Vitamin C and fiber. In short, just what your immune system needs when facing long, cold North East Winters. To top it off, cranberries come in at a cool 45 calories a cup (this is for the plain berries with no sugar or orange, but with minimal sugar the homemade version means you can have seconds).

Serve it hot or cold, as garnish, a side dish or a main meal. Add more sugar or less or toss in an extra pinch of cinnamon if the mood strikes you. Make it your own because this is one dish you really can’t screw up.

Orange Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 bag of cranberries
  • 1 orange
  • 2-3 cups of water (start with 2 and add more if needed)
  • 3 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup of sugar (or to taste)
  1. Rinse the cranberries in a strainer and then then place them in a pot with the water, orange, cinnamon and sugar, with the lid askew.
  2. Cook on high heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the liquid begins to evaporate.
  3. When they begin to pop, turn the heat down to medium and continue stirring occasionally.
  4. Once they are all popped, turn off the burner and keep stirring until the sauce reaches desired thickness (another 20 min).
  5. Allow to cool for an hour or so before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving!