Making fresh cranberry sauce is not only easy, but it's fun! The sound of those fresh berries "popping" under the simmering liquid is quite mesmerizing. It sure beats the sound of a can opener. The salt and cayenne may seem like odd ingredients, but just a dash of each will really brighten the flavors of this great fresh cranberry sauce.
Put the sugar into a medium saucepan. Add the orange juice, wine, zest, cinnamon stick and spices, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. While the mixture is simmering, add the cranberries. Bring back to a simmer, and cook until the berries start to "pop." Simmer the mixture for about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce will begin to thicken, and the berries will have all popped and collapsed.
Add the 1/4 cup of cold water, stir well, and turn off the heat. Don't worry if a couple of berries didn't pop, as they will break down as the sauce is cooled and stirred. Remove and discard the cinnamon stick. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl.
Let the mixture cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. As the sauce cools it will get very thick. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The cranberry sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Fresh cranberries are available from September until late in December. When buying, choose berries that are bright red, plump, free from wrinkles with intact skin. They also should be firm to touch, without any cuts or cracks.
- Fresh berries can be refrigerated in their original packaging for up to 2 weeks. If you'd like a supply of cranberries year round, buy several bags when the fresh are available and freeze them right in their original packaging. They can be frozen for up to 1 year. Use them frozen for baking, or thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Rinse cranberries well before using, and let drain. One 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries equals 3 cups.