Cranberry Sauce - A Healthier Perspective
What would a Thanksgiving table be without that deep garnet red bowl of delightful cranberry sauce? Cranberries date back to the early days of the Thanksgiving holiday and have been a culinary staple generation after generation. Even though they are small, they pack quite a nutritional punch. Cranberries contain resveratrol, an anti-inflammatory compound, are loaded with vitamin C, as well as other antioxidants; they can prevent UTIs and can reduce the risk of kidney stones. They are quite the mighty little fruit.
But like all items, it comes down to how you prepare them. One word you often hear associated with cranberries is the word tart. Take a sip of pure cranberry juice, and you know what we mean. In our confectionary attempts to minimize tartness and make consumption of the berry more palatable we've added copious amounts of sugar. Its why your aunts, grandmas or moms cranberry sauce can have that gelatinous quality like Jell-O. But too much sugar isn't so great of a solution when you have dietary or health concerns like obesity, type two diabetes or other restrictions that mean you have to limit your intake of refined sugars.
We propose a different yet healthier way of preparing those cranberries to not only maximize their flavor but also keep the health benefits they provide! Take a look at the recipe below and see how it works for your Thanksgiving table this year!
- 1 12 ounce package of Fresh Cranberries
- 1/2 Cup of Boiled Honey (instructions below)
- 1/2 Cup of Water
- 1 Orange - zest, and juice
Begin by boiling your honey in a small saucepan. Starting on a low heat consistently stir the cup of honey until you reach a rapid boil. Using a candy thermometer you want the temperature of the honey to reach over 250 degrees. Use caution handling or stirring as high heat and sugar based items like honey or syrups can scald. Once your honey has boiled for about 5-10 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool completely. When you boil honey, it retains its sweetness, but you remove the overt stickiness. You can also use cooked honey in pecan pies or other recipes in this state in place of high fructose corn syrups or other sugars!
Next rinse your cranberries and drain off any excess water. You may want to take a moment and remove those berries that are a bit past the prime and squishy or excessively bruised. Set them aside. Take a medium-sized saucepan and add your cooled honey and a 1/2 cup of water. Whisk your liquid ingredients together then combine and coat your cranberries in the mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. You will see the cranberries begin to pop. Stir frequently to offset sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. This process should take about 5-10 minutes, and your mixture should thicken. You can cook longer for a thicker sauce or shorter for a less firm texture.
While all of this is going on, take your orange and zest the outside into a small dish, using a grater or zester. Once you have zested your orange, cut it in half and squeeze the juice from the inside using a juicer. Bring your cranberry sauce off of the heat and add your grated orange zest and two tablespoons of fresh squeezed orange juice and combine.
Last, but certainly not least, add in cinnamon to taste. Cinnamon is a fantastic spice that is packed with flavor. But one thing that cinnamon can do naturally is enhance the sweetness of the other ingredients and take away some of the overt tartness of the cranberries. Incorporate small amounts of Ceylon cinnamon until you get the sweetness and taste you want.
Allow to cool on the counter, then pour into the dish you wish to serve in. You can refrigerate for a more chilled cranberry sauce, or you can leave at room temperature. Either way, this cranberry side is sure to be a perfect, and healthier, compliment to your Thanksgiving meal!