It’s a bit like the proverbial icing on the cake, made of sugar and spice and even wine and, of course, fresh cranberries usually found in produce aisles this time of year. None of the canned jellied stuff for me. It may look pretty on its cut glass relish tray, a round silver spatula by its side, but subject to slipping right off onto Grandmother’s white Damask tablecloth.

I still have the pierced flat cranberry jelly server handed down in my husband’s family. It lies, unused, in the silver drawer, taken out annually for its polishing, along with other serving pieces such as the special jam/sauce spoon I use for real cranberry sauce cradled in his grandmother’s cut lead crystal bowl.

The November 2001 issue of Bon Appetit featured several recipes for chunky relishes and sauces. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Spiced Cranberry Sauce with Zinfandel

1 3/4 cups red Zinfandel or Merlot

1 cup sugar

1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

6 whole cloves

6 whole allspice

2 cinnamon sticks

1 3×1-inch strip orange peel

1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries

Combine all ingredients except cranberries in medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced to 1 3/4 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain syrup into large saucepan. Add cranberries to syrup and cook over medium heat until berries burst, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to serving bowl and refrigerate.

Cranberry Sauce with Port (or other sweet wine)

1 2/3 cups ruby Port

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1 6-inch-long sprig fresh rosemary

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries

3/4 cup sugar

Combine first 6 ingredients in medium saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes. Discard rosemary sprig.

Mix in cranberries and 3/4 sugar. Cook over medium heat until liquid is slightly reduced and berries burst, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer sauce to bowl. Chill until cold.

Both these sauces can be tweaked to your liking and made up to a week prior to Thanksgiving. Just keep covered and refrigerated.

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Just short of fifty years of holy matrimony, I am blessed to be a mother of two and grandmother of seven. Much of my writing speaks to the culture and tradition of the Deep South, where I spent the first thirty-five years of my life before relocating to the Pacific Northwest. As a poet and essayist, I’ve published both online and in print media. In mid-February 2019, I launched Roses in the Rain: A Daughter's Story, following a successful couple years of Invitation to the Garden, both on Watch for upcoming installments to the memoir blog every Tuesday. The garden posts follow on Friday/Saturday. I look forward to hearing from you all!

One thought on “The CRANBERRY Sauce”

  1. The spiced one sounds good. I hate those canned ones too, although they’ll do in a pinch I much prefer the homemade. We have a cut glass cranberry bowl with red trim too with a little matching saucer underneath it, which is only used for the cranberry sauce. Traditions matter……


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