Go take a quick look at the ingredients list below for my naturally sweetened (and a little spicy) cranberry sauce. Meet me back here…I’ll wait.
I know, I know. They’re like the grumpy old men of fruit. Wrinkled, soft on the outside, yet hardened by life on the inside. But did you know that dates are one of the sweetest fruits on earth, loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants, and help prevent inflammation? And cranberries? All the same, plus packed with vitamin C. (GO F. YOURSELF COVID!)*
How about refined sugar? Is it also loaded with a plethora of antioxidants and disease fighting vitamins and minerals?
I mean. I’d love to say yes, but I’ll just tell you how cute you are instead.
Why should I make naturally sweetened cranberry sauce?
Because naturally sweetened cranberry sauce is d-lish-us and literally takes 15 minutes to make. That’s about the same amount of time it’ll take you to:
– wrestle with your ancient hand-held can opener
– yell “SON OF A %#*^!” when you cut yourself on the top of a can of cranberry sauce
– find out how much processed white sugar is inside of said can.
(It’s about 48 teaspoons. W.T.F.)
Look, I’m not claiming my cranberry sauce is sugar free (there’s sugar in fruit, and certainly in honey). But I am claiming it’s a thousand times healthier for you, and tastier too.**
But I don’t even like cranberry sauce on my turkey (neither do I). What should I do with the leftovers?
Well, lucky for you, it’s the main ingredient in a recipe I’ll share next week for my amazingly delicious cranberry mini pies, which are everything you need right now.
(By right now, I mean the day after thanksgiving when you’re standing in front of the fridge saying, “What the hell am I going to do with all this cranberry sauce?”)
Love, peace, and a little less grease,
PS – Still hate dates?
Just exclude them! The recipe works either way…it’s just a bit more tart without the dates.
*Cranberries, like bleach, are not an approved treatment for COVID-19.
**These figures have not been scientifically proven.
Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- juice from 1/2 large orange (about 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup honey (maple syrup also works, but you may need to add a tad more since it's not as sweet as honey)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 tablespoons spiced rum or bourbon (optional)
- 7 dates, pitted & chopped (if you skip the dates, consider adding additional honey or maple syrup after removing from heat...1 tablespoon at a time, to taste)
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries (or thawed frozen)
- Rinse, drain, and pick through berries. Any funky ones? Toss 'em. Note: If you're working with frozen cranberries, thaw on counter for 1 hour. But no worries if you forget. Just increase cooking time by a few minutes at end of the recipe.
- Grate orange zest, then juice orange.
- Bring first 9 ingredients (everything except dates & cranberries) to a simmer on medium heat in a large sauce pan. Simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes.
- Once spices are well blended, add dates and bring to a low boil with cover slightly ajar for 7-8 minutes. Give it a stir every couple of minutes.
- Add cranberries and cook another 5 minutes, stirring every minute or two. When cranberries have opened up, remove from heat and place sauce in serving dish to cool. (Yes, it's THAT simple!)Note 1: If you want your sauce a little on the thin side, add a bit of water before transferring to the bowl (I'd suggest starting with a tablespoon or two).Note 2: Don’t go beyond cook time above, unless you prefer a "jellied" sauce with no visible berries, and/or are working with frozen berries.
- Cool uncovered, for 30-45 minutes to allow sauce to thicken.
Frequently Asked Questions:
I’ve never eaten dates before, but I’m ready to try them now because I love you. Where can I find them?!
They can usually be found either in the bulk or dried fruits sections, or in the produce area (often near the bananas for some reason). I prefer to purchase mine from Amazon because I am lazy, and because I use them frequently so I’m not afraid of a giant bag. If you follow my recipes, we’ll be using them again. My favorite on Amazon are Terrasoul dates.
Can this sauce be made ahead?
How long can leftovers be stored in the fridge?
About a week.
What should I do with the leftovers?
Make cranberry mini pies! It’s also delicious topped on English muffins, oatmeal, yogurt & granola parfaits…basically anything you’d use a traditional jam for.
Can cranberry sauce be frozen?
Yep. Just place in a freezer safe dish and thaw on counter when you’re ready to use it.
Can I exclude any of the spices?
Sure, if you prefer a traditional cranberry sauce, just exclude the cinnamon, ginger and cayenne.
Like it a little spicier?
Add a bit more of spices above & consider a pinch of clove or allspice as well.