Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ginger Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries made an appearance for the first time this year at the farmer's market last weekend and I can rarely resist buying whatever new product has just come to the farmer's market. Wisconsin is the leading producer of cranberries in the United States, accounting for over half of U.S. production, so enjoying cranberries is as natural as savoring cheese or beer for a Wisconsin native. I eat plenty of cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving, but it's a shame that I've only been enjoying it at holiday meals.

I made this cranberry sauce for more use as a condiment than a side dish, so I mashed the cranberries quite a bit and cooked it almost to a jam/jelly stage, a bit short of Concord Grape Jam (see that post for more detail about cooking and testing jam). For a side dish, a chunkier texture and thinner consistency may be more a appropriate. This sauce makes an excellent spread for sandwiches or toast or a tasty addition to oatmeal or yogurt. The original recipe says it keeps for up to 3 months in the refrigerator, but I doubt it will last that long (or that I'd want to eat it after so much time if it did).

Ginger Cranberry Sauce
adapted from Epicurious

1 lb. fresh cranberries, picked over and rinsed
2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
Finely grated zest from 1 orange

1. Place 2 small plates in the freezer (for testing sauce). Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the berries pop open, about 10 minutes. Mash the berries with a potato masher to break them down further and continue cooking for another 5 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat, drop a teaspoonful on a chilled plate, and return to freezer for 1 minute. Tilt plate and observe consistency-this approximates the sauce at this stage of cooking once it has cooled. If the sauce is too thin, continue cooking at a slow boil, testing every 5 minutes, until it reaches desired consistency. Remove from heat. 

2. Skim foam off the surface with a metal spoon and discard. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 months.

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