Canned Cranberry Sauce – Sans junk

Growing up, we always had the canned cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.  Seems like most of us did, and still do.  Monday I was picking Beck up from “Turkey Camp” at MyGym and they were talking to the kids about what they would eat on Thanksgiving.  One kid yelled “red Jello!” to which the teacher chuckled and said, “yes, cranberry sauce.”

Cranberry sauce from a can, sliced.

Image via Wikipedia

However, that stuff isn’t really that good for you.  Have you taken a look at the ingredients list? Most of the time it’s made from high fructose corn syrup.  Plus, the cans are lined with a substance that contains BPA, and since cranberry sauce is quite acidic, rest assured that the BPA is migrating into the sauce, and from there into you and the kids.

Alternatives?  You can easily make your own.  I have been for years.  The basic recipe is on the back of every bag of fresh cranberries out there.  Find them in the produce section of just about any market this time of year.  (You do know where the produce section is, right?)  In case your bag somehow is missing the recipe, here it is.

1 bag of Cranberries

1 cup of sugar

1 cup of water

Dissolve the sugar into the water in a medium sauce pan over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add cranberries and continue to simmer till berries start to burst, about 10 minutes.  That is Beck’s favorite part.  Remove from heat and cool.  It will thicken as it cools.  Refrigerate to thicken further.

Cranberry Sauce 009

Image by MGF/Lady Disdain via Flickr

Don’t limit yourself to water when making the sauce.  You can substitute orange or apple juice, add a bit of bourbon or brandy, maybe try some red wine.  Get creative!

This will last in your refrigerator for days, if not weeks.  Though why would you want it to just sit in the fridge, all cold and lonely?  Add it to stuff!  Use it in the “traditional” ways, like with Thanksgiving dinner, spread it on sandwiches, use it like jelly, warm it and drizzle it over ice cream, drop a spoonful in sparkling water for a fun drink for the kiddos.

Still want canned cranberry sauce?  Have guests who refuse to eat anything else?  The kids really want the “red Jello?”

Check out this ingenious solution from Food in Jars.  She used empty BPA free cans as molds for homemade cranberry sauce.  Looks just like the “real” thing.  Except it actually is real food.

Happy Thanksgiving day everyone!


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