Cranberry sauce is not just for Christmas, but for every day of the year, whenever you need a sour, sweet and tangy preserve to accompany your favourite meats or cheeses. Once you learn how easy it is to make homemade cranberry sauce, you'll wish you'd tried it before.
While cranberry sauce makes its annual outing to join its turkey ally on Thanksgiving and Christmas tables, this berrylicious sauce has something more to offer throughout the year.
Think lashings of cranberry sauce on sliced turkey sandwiches; a generous dollop of cranberry sauce to cheer up cold roast chicken, ham or pork; or adding tang to a creamy grilled goat's-cheese or Brie sandwich. If you have a sweet tooth, cranberry sauce is also your friend - you can stir it into yogurt and ice cream, spread it onto pancakes, or even slather it on peanut butter sandwiches.
The first recipe for cranberry sauce appeared over 200 years ago in the 1796 edition of American cookbook The Art of Cookery by Amelia Simmons, with the first commercial cranberry sauce becoming available on the shelves in cans in the 1940s.
While cranberry sauce is readily available shop-bought in jars or tins, nothing quite beats the satisfaction of making your own cranberry sauce at home.
Where can you buy fresh cranberries?
Fresh cranberries are in season from November to December, with the best cranberries grown in their native North America and Cape Cod in particular. To test how fresh they are, check if they bounce when you drop them on a kitchen surface.
Fresh cranberries can be kept in the fridge for a week, or even frozen fresh.
If you can't find fresh cranberries, frozen cranberries can be easily substituted in sauce recipes.
How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce
The most simple cranberry sauces consist of fresh cranberries boiled down with sugar until the berries pop and the mixture thickens, but many include aromatic extras like anise and orange peel and even port.
These two recipes below demonstrate a couple of easy ways to make the best homemade cranberry sauce.
Gordon Ramsay gets into the Christmas spirit with his make-ahead sweet, sour and spicy cranberry and apple sauce. For this recipe you'll need caster sugar, star anise, cardamom pods, fresh cranberries, thinly sliced apples, salt and pepper, port, orange zest and juice. Watch how easy it is to make his show-stopping cranberry sauce in under half an hour.
Homemade Cranberry and Orange Sauce
Tyler Florence shows how to use frozen cranberries and maximise those holiday aromas with the addition of orange peel and cinnamon sticks in his video recipe below. He simmers the mix for 12 to 15 minutes for a homemade chunky-style cranberry, which can be sealed in a jar in the fridge ready for the big day.
Can you freeze cranberry sauce?
Cranberry sauce keeps in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two weeks. If you make up a batch it also freezes well packed in an airtight container or freezer-safe plastic bag. For best results, use the frozen cranberry sauce within a couple of months, and simply defrost in the refrigerator overnight before you need it.