If required, I could create a lovely Thanksgiving meal centered around a store-bought turkey, Stove Top Stuffing, and a side of canned green beans. It wouldn’t be ideal, but it could suffice.
What I won’t do is entertain the idea of ever serving cranberry sauce from a can. Give me store bought rolls and pre-fab sweet potatoes, but do not even pretend that canned cranberry sauce will cut it. Homemade Cranberry Sauce is the hidden gem of the Thanksgiving table, and without it, nothing else is quite as special.
In fact, I would argue that homemade cranberry sauce has the ability to rescue otherwise mediocre offerings. Is your plate full of dry turkey, bland dressing, or overcooked vegetables? Add a spoonful of homemade cranberry sauce to the equation, and suddenly everything is special.
Why? Because it’s tart. It’s sweet. It’s textured. It’s the nuanced bit of color and zingy flavor that will wake up all the other elements and bring the dull to life.
While there are several versions of cranberry sauce out there (with nuts, without nuts, with spices, without spices, etc.), my favorite is a classic version. I prefer a short list of ingredients that allows the tart cranberries to shine. Slightly thick, no spices, and only a bit of orange juice stirred in at the end. It’s my favorite.
The best part? This Classic Cranberry Sauce is a cinch to make and lasts for a week, which means you can be the hero of the holiday table without even breaking a sweat.
Seriously. You can do this, and you can do it ahead, which means there isn’t a reason to avoid making this from scratch. Leave the canned stuff on the shelf, and give this Classic Cranberry Sauce a try. I promise your holiday plate will be better off as a result!
Classic Cranberry Sauce
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 12- ounce package fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons orange juice I like to squeeze the juice from a clementine
- In a sauce pan over medium-high heat, combine the pomegranate juice, granulated sugar, fresh cranberries and dried cranberries. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Continue to cook the mixture until the fresh berries begin to pop, about 7-10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the orange juice. Cool completely, cover, and chill.This can be made up to 7 days in advance!