When researching recipes for Cranberry Sauce, I noticed one similarity among most: They all call for 12 ounces of cranberries and 1 cup of sugar. Cranberries are quite tart, so I’m board with adding some sweetness for balance. But 1 cup of sugar to about 3 cups of cranberries? Seems like a lot. And I’m not even opposed to organic cane sugar as a rule; I actually think the arbitrary nature of some of the “paleo laws” are silly. To me, sugar is sugar in the body, and it’s best limited- regardless of the form you’re consuming it in. Sure, some have minerals and nutritional value that others don’t. But if you’re consuming enough of any of them to get those benefits, you’re probably not doing anything good for your blood sugar levels.
…Just my .02! There’s a pretty good conversation happening about this very topic over on my Facebook page. And of course I always welcome questions and feedback in the comments section below!
So back to the recipe at hand: Even if sugar was a superfood, I don’t think I’d want that much sugar in my Cranberry Sauce, for taste reasons alone. I want it to still be a little tart and for the flavor of the cranberries to come through, not be buried in sweetness. That being said; I am typically pretty exact with my ingredient measurements but provided a range for this one. If you want it to be more like a traditionally sweet (but not cloying) Cranberry Sauce, opt for 1/2 cup of honey. If you like it on the tart side, use 1/4 cup. Or find a happy medium somewhere in between! You can always add more to taste when it’s done.
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Mandarin-Ginger Cranberry Sauce
prep time: 5 minutes
cook time: about 25 minutes
yield: about 2 cups / 4-6 servings
12 ounces (about 3 cups) fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup – 1/2 cup honey, or maple syrup or cane sugar for a vegan version*
1/2 cup fresh mandarin juice (or orange, tangerine, etc.)
1 teaspoon mandarin zest, plus additional for serving, optional
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 whole star anise (optional)
- Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer.
- Once the cranberries start to pop, turn the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries have all popped and the mixture has turned into a chunky sauce, about 20-25 minutes. If it gets too thick, add a little water. Pluck out the star anise.
- Allow to cool completely before serving. Garnish with additional mandarin zest, if desired.
* (depending on how sweet you prefer it- 1/2 cup will be closer to traditional cranberry sauce but will still have some tartness, 1/4 will be on the very tart side.)
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