Americans consume well over 5 million gallons of jellied cranberry sauce a year, but whether you blanket your whole meal in the stuff or hide it in your napkin, cranberry sauce has long been a staple on the Thanksgiving table.
Native American tribes gathered wild cranberries and used them for eating, bait, and dying clothing, rugs, and blankets. When the Native Americans introduced cranberries to the colonists, the pilgrims integrated them into their dishes, boiling them with sugar and serving them with meat. In the early 1800s, cookbook authors began to suggest pairing boiled onions and cranberries with turkey.
Though we all know the satisfaction that comes with sliding a perfectly jiggly cylinder of cranberry jelly out of the can, homemade is always better! This Thanksgiving, try one of these methods to step up your cranberry sauce game.
If you are not a huge fan of the jelly texture of the canned stuff, try a fresher alternative, cranberry relish! Blend 12 ounces of fresh cranberries, one chopped, unpeeled orange, and one cup of sugar in a food processor until nearly smooth.
Try mixing different flavors into your cranberry sauce. Sauté cranberries with other fruits--like apples, pomegranates, cherries, or pineapples--until they burst! If you're feeling even more adventurous, throw in some non-traditional spices, like ginger or cloves.
Stir a couple tablespoons of Cognac, Port wine, or bourbon into your mixture for a flavorful and unforgettable sauce.
If you are a hardcore Thanksgiving traditionalist and you must have a jiggly jelly, try making your own and chilling it in a beautiful bunt pan or a turkey-shaped mold!