Monday, November 18, 2013

Orange-ginger cranberry sauce

I think a lot of people don't realize how easy it is to make cranberry sauce from scratch. Here is my paraphrase of the cranberry sauce recipe that you will find on most packages of fresh cranberries.

  • 1 pound fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.
  2. Simmer until it looks like cranberry sauce.
This recipe is foolproof and will result in a solid, tasty cranberry sauce. However, it can be improved upon. I've been experimenting for the past few years, and I've finally hit on a really wonderful cranberry sauce recipe. It is a bit more involved, but I think it is well worth it.
  • 1 pound fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  1. Steep the grated ginger in the boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain the ginger and discard. Reserve the ginger water.
  2. Zest and juice the orange. Combine the orange juice with the ginger water. If the combined liquids are less than 1 cup in total, add water to bring it to 1 cup.
  3. Combine the orange zest, orange juice mixture, sugar and cranberries in a sauce pan.
  4. Simmer until it looks like cranberry sauce.
The addition of the orange and the ginger make a subtle, but tangible difference in the flavor of the sauce. The orange-ginger sauce has a brighter and tangier flavor. In a side by side comparison, most people should be able to tell that there is something different about the sauce, but I think it would take a discerning palate to be able to identify the specific flavors.

In my recipe, I've cut the sugar a bit, because I enjoy a tart cranberry sauce. This can be adjusted to taste. Steeping the ginger is a trick I learned from making ginger ale at home. I really wanted the fresh ginger flavor, but didn't want fibrous bits of ginger mixed into the sauce itself. The extra step of making a sort of ginger tea accomplishes this with minimal extra effort.

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