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Cranberry Sauce

The classic North American and British Thanksgiving/Christmas dish, Cranberry Sauce is still relative new thing in Germany but will hopefully become more mainstream and popular in the future.

However, while mostly grown in Canada and the US, Germans have started to find uses for the Cranberry and have started to grow their own Cranberries.

If you can't find fresh or frozen cranberries, use Preiselbeeren (Lingon berry), it is not possible to use dried Cranberries or the Cranberries that you can buy in a glass jar. These Cranberries don't have enough or any of the pectin needed to thicken the liquid, which is kinda of the point of Cranberry Sauce.

Cranberry Sauce is normally served with meat but I say, it is too damn good to not have it with your own Vegetarian meals. It works particularly well with seitan or smoked tofu but is also nice with lentils (Lentil Loaf or Cabbage Rolls stuffed with Lentils).

Cranberry Sauce is very easy to make and for all the North Americans, avoid buying the pre-made can version as the difference in quality and flavor from one that you make yourself is very dramatic.

To do it yourself you need three things:

1. Cranberries

2. Sweetener

3. Liquid

You can add other things but those three things are a must.

For example.

I have frozen Cranberries (living in Germany means that when I see Organic ones, I buy and freeze), Orange Juice and Sparkling Wine. The ratio of Orange Juice to Sparkling Wine is up to you and based on your own preference. If I didn't need to use up the sparkling wine, I would have not used it and just used more OJ.

I always start with just enough liquid to cover the berries in the sauce pain. And depending on my preference that day, may keep it there or add more liquid as it cooks.

Next, the sweetener. I used Rice Syrup, mostly cause that's what I had and generally speaking like it. I could have used everything from Maple Syrup to Honey to Regular Sugar. But the trick is adding enough. Start of small, for 400g of fresh/frozen cranberries add maybe 1 TBSP. And as it cooks down, taste and adjust to your preference. Most people will need to add a lot more sweetener but it is really up to you.

Next I added Cinnamon, Cloves, Star Anise, Pinch of Salt and Nutmeg. It's a deeply personal choice but you could also add Cardamon, Chinese 5 Spice or... When thinking of the spice, think Christmas. This always helps me, what does Christmas taste like. Don't add herbs and spices like Oregano, Parsley, Cumin etc... but Pepper works great, so play and have fun with it.

Simmer the Cranberries and the spices until it's the desired thickness that you want. About 20 minutes. You can start simmering the cranberries on high high heat for 5-10 min (most recipes call for this but I find it doesn't really matter) and then simmer on low till thickened but I just throw everything in the pot and simmer on low for about 20 minutes or until thick. If it's too thick add a bit of liquid, if too tart add some sweetener. Everytime you add something, just add a little, taste the dish before adjusting again.


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