Cranberrry sauce – not just for turkey

On my way to Spain to finish up my Master’s degree, I fell prey to one of my great weaknesses: buying everything in sight at the airport.  When you travel alone internationally, you really don’t have many other choices.  You are required to show up hours early then wander around the terminals amidst happy displays of tourist gear and snacks, bars and miniature shopping centers.  So I’ve now started budgeting my time in the airport into my travel spending plans.  Know thyself.

This time around, I impulse bought the Gourmet Magazine Holiday Special.  I was in love with Gourmet Magazine, then they shut down.  So when I saw that familiar calligraphy on the stand while I bought my anti-ear-squeeze gum for the plane, I snatched it up without an ounce of remorse.  Totally worth it.  It’s a compendium of holiday favorites from years past, and since I came to the game late, a lot of the recipes are new to me, though not all.

One of the recipes was for a delicious eggnog and cranberry cheesecake, which I attempted as my first every cheesecake.  Visually, it was a disaster.  But the flavor came out so beautifully, it’s already queued up as my next attempt – I’ll post it then.  But what did come out beautifully was the cranberry jam component, which ended up doing double duty as our cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.  It was so good, I snatched up the cranberries when they went on sale to stick in the freezer for future batches.  I did jazz it up ever so slightly, but this is a soul-warmingly good balance of tart and sweet and perfect for any winter table, holiday feast or otherwise.

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Cranberry Jam

Adapted from Gourmet Magazine

1 (12-oz) bag fresh or frozen cranberries (If frozen, don’t thaw)

1 c sugar

1/2 c orange juice

1 c water

zest of 1/2 an orange

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

cranberry sauce-1

Pour all your ingredients into a large, 2-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring from time to time.

After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally.

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After about twenty minutes, the jam will start to thicken up as the cranberries release their pectin.  I like to pop the cranberries with my wooden spoon because it feels cool and sounds funky.  The jam will continue to thicken as it cools down.

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Using a wooden spoon, smoosh the jam through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Throw away the skins and the seeds and let the jam cool, stirring every once and a while.  It will survive happily in the fridge for four days, perfect for making ahead and the all important holiday leftovers.

Why talk about cranberry sauce so long after Thanksgiving?   Because this is delicious on many other things.  Set cranberries free from a once a year holiday!  Think vanilla ice cream, or as pictured below, sweetened Greek yogurt! Think outside the box.  As soon as Christmas is over, cranberries will go on sale again, so be prepared.

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Hey, I'm Desa. I've been bouncing between the Pacific Northwest and Sevilla, Spain in the last few years and from tiny apartment to tiny apartment. I cook mainly for one, which means some potentially boring meals, but here I'll be sharing the food that excites me. Feel free to offer suggestions, commiseration, or desires. And thanks for coming by!


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