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Thanksgiving Favorites Made-Over (Part 2): Easy Homemade Cranberry Sauce

To me cranberry sauce and cornbread dressing go together like bread and jam!  Last week I shared my Meemaw's Cornbread Dressing recipe, a signature family favorite in my house.  And what would dressing be without a helping of cranberry sauce on the side??

This homemade cranberry sauce is the real deal with just four good-for-you ingredients, and---bonus---it's super easy to make!  

Personally, I grew up on the canned jellied kind...which I loved.  But sadly most versions are sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which is about as refined and processed a sugar as you can get!  There is no redemptive, nutritive value in corn syrup.  It's just plain empty calories.  

Not only that but also such an excess of fructose generates unhealthy spikes in blood sugar levels and exacerbates inflammation in the short term, which can lead to more chronic health issues in the long run.  For my family, any foods containing corn syrup and/or HFCS are an automatic no. Not on my table.  

So I sought out a healthier alternative, and in the process I was surprised and relieved to learn how simple it is to make my own, with just a couple of basic ingredients (honey and water) plus fresh (or frozen) cranberries.  My version is a classic cranberry sauce, not technically "jellied" in a mold as a canned version might be.  One of these days I'll learn how to do that, but so far we've been very pleased with it in the form of sauce!

(Side note--I'm also experimenting this year with honey-fermented cranberries and am looking forward to trying that out with our turkey and dressing!  Stay tuned to hear how that goes. ;-) )

Here's how to make the cranberry sauce in step-by-step pictures. Scroll to the bottom for the full recipe.  

Step 1: Add 3 cups fresh cranberries to a saucepan with 1 cup of water and 1 cranberry stick.

Step 2:  Turn stove on medium heat and add honey, stirring until incorporated.


Step 3:  Bring to a boil.  Then reduce heat and simmer until cranberries burst, about 10 minutes.


Step 4: Remove from heat and let cool completely at room temperature.  This is what mine looked like just after removing from heat.  It will still seem a little runny but will thicken as it cools.


Step 5:  Pour into a jar or other glass container with a lid, and chill in refrigerator.  Should keep, tightly sealed, 1-2 weeks in the fridge.

Homemade Cranberry Sauce
makes about 2-1/2 cups
Ingredients
3 cups fresh (or frozen) cranberries
3/4 cup raw honey
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick

Instructions
1.  Add 3 cups fresh cranberries to a saucepan with 1 cup of water and 1 cranberry stick. 
2.  Turn stove on medium heat and add honey, stirring until incorporated. 
2.  Bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer until cranberries burst, about 10 minutes.  
4.  Remove from heat, and cool completely at room temperature.
5.  Pour into a jar or other glass container with a lid, and chill in refrigerator.  Sauce will thicken as it cools.  Should keep, tightly sealed, 1-2 weeks in the fridge.

Bon appetit!  


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