Happy Monday! This is it, the week of Christmas. The house is full of food, the baking is piling up and the advent calendars are almost finished. Time for some final preparations. And this is one of the easiest and most worthwhile. Honey sweetened cranberry sauce!
Here in Shetland cranberry sauce is not really a traditional part of Christmas dinner. It’s only been in more recent years that it’s be included in the festivities. I really can’t imagine Christmas dinner, or the ensuing boxing day left-over sandwiches, without it. For me it really is the element that ties together the meal and declares with its tart red glory that this is Christmas.
In the past I’d always bought the canned cranberry sauce. It had never really occurred to me that cranberry sauce could be anything but the ridged, tin-shaped blob plopped into a bowl and set on the table as an after thought. But last year when I was trying to health-ify Christmas dinner a bit by cutting out the refined sugar where I could, I was struck by the discovery that cranberry sauce could be so much more. And while I don’t think that the health credentials need to be at the forefront of Christmas dinner, I do think that it’s a lovely time to celebrate food in all its glory, and honey sweetened cranberry sauce I have found is actually far lovelier than its tinned, sugar-laden counterpart, and couldn’t be easier to make.
This whole honey sweetened cranberry sauce thing has been another revelation for me that has me thinking that the idea that Christmas dinner is pure indulgence devoid of nutrition, is a bit of a myth. Many of the elements of the traditional feast are actually really healthy, and this sauce is no exception. In fact really we should all be eating these berries a lot more. They are magnificently good for you to the point that they were used as medicine by First Nations people in North America since time immemorial. They are loaded with antioxidants, help to prevent and fight urinary tract infection and gum disease, boost immune function, lower blood pressure, and help to prevent cardiovascular disease.
This honey sweetened cranberry sauce is the simplest thing in the world and takes minutes to make. So if you’ve got a spare 10 minutes this week, why not whip up a batch. It’s so worth it!
- 150g fresh cranberries
- 50g honey
- 100mL apple juice or water
- 1 tsp orange zest or 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- Place all ingredients into a small pot over medium heat.
- Allow it to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have burst, about 10 minutes.
- Pour it into a still hot, sterilized jar, close the lid, allow to cool at room temperature (it will thicken up as it cools) and then store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
- To sterilize your jars wash them well in hot soapy water and then set them in the oven heated to 140 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. Or run them through the dishwasher. Fill them while they're still hot.