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Forget the can, fresh cranberry sauce is easy


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POSTED: Wednesday, November 18, 2009

If you've never made your own cranberry sauce, enlightenment awaits. Do-it-yourself cranberry sauce is probably the single easiest item you could add to your Thanksgiving repertoire. It will be nothing like that tube-shaped gelatinous thing that plops out of a can. Yours will have taste, texture and tartness — perfect for dressing up the turkey and fixings next week.

Why try? Let us count the ways:

>> It's simple. Place one bag of cranberries in a pot with water and sugar (the proportions are given on the bag). Simmer until the berries pop. Pau.

>> It can be done ahead, today if you want. Refrigerate the sauce till turkey day. In the meantime you can serve spoonfuls along with anything you're eating, from roast meats to curries to plain toast.

>> You don't even need a stove. Toss the ingredients in a slow cooker and let it go for a couple of hours while you go about the many tasks that this time of year can bring. Or, try a raw version (see below).

>> You can make it your own. For one thing, you can control the amount of sugar. Beyond that, fancy it up with spices (cinnamon or ginger are naturals), additional fruits (orange is traditional) or pour in wine or apple cider.

Here are two versions of Thanksgiving's traditional sauce. One comes from the Halekulani, in answer to a request from Thelma Lee. It's made extra-yummy with an apple, orange and pear. To enjoy the sauce in its traditional glory, the Halekulani is offering Thanksgiving dining at House Without a Key (three-course meal, $36), Orchids (brunch and dinner buffets, $62 and $65) and La Mer ($90). Call 923-2311.

The second recipe is a wilder cranberry salsa made with uncooked berries and some jalapeño spice.

HALEKULANI CRANBERRY SAUCE

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
1 orange, peeled and puréed
1 apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 pear, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

In a medium saucepan, bring water to boil. Add sugar and stir to dissolve.

Reduce heat to simmer; stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst. Cool to room temperature.

Approximate nutritional information, per 2-tablespoon serving: 30 calories, no fat or cholesterol, 30 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 7 g sugar, no protein

SPICY CRANBERRY SALSA

Associated Press

1 small red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 fresh jalapeño, seeds and veins removed
1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 small apples, peeled and cored, cut into small chunks
2 tablespoons agave syrup or honey
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Combine onion, garlic and jalapeño In a food processor. Process until finely minced. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until finely and evenly chopped.

Nutritional information unavailable.