At Your Request (Grown Up Cranberry Sauce)

I was first taught how to make cranberry sauce in 3rd or 4th grade.  We made the recipe off of the back of the bag, which recipe I am fairly certain is still on the bag of “conventionally grown” cranberries.  The recipe is:  One bag cranberries + one cup water + one cup sugar.  Bring all ingredients to a boil.  Maintaining a vigorous simmer, stir continuously until most of the cranberries have popped and the liquid has thickened.  Allow to cool.  OK to make in advance; store in refrigerator.  From that time on, we did not eat cranberry sauce from a can, which was a big deal in the late 60s, early 70s.

This year’s variation is organic and uses some local ingredients.  Three generous cups (this is about the same as the typical bag of cranberries) of cranberries + one cup apple cider + 1/2 cup sucanat + a splash of cognac or brandy.  Maintaining a vigorous simmer, stir continuously until most of the cranberries have popped and the liquid has thickened.  Allow to cool.  Optional:  add another splash of cognac while cooling.  OK to make in advance; store in refrigerator.

Variations:  (1) use pomegranate juice instead of cider; include a vanilla bean and a sliver of lemon rind while cooking.  (2) replace cognac or brandy with Calvados and include a cinnamon stick while cooking. (3) replace the cider with orange juice, the cognac with triple sec, and use turbinado sugar instead of sucanat.  The variations are many.  Just have the types of fruit, flavorings (spices and liquor) meld with eachother, and make sure there is enough sugar to gel the sauce.

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