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All-Natural Homemade Cranberry-Apple Sauce Recipe

Catherine Giordano enjoys creating and sharing recipes for home cooks who want delicious results with minimal fuss.

Cranberry-apple sauce with raisins and maple syrup. Serve the cranberry-apple sauce in a pretty glass bowl.

Cranberry-apple sauce with raisins and maple syrup. Serve the cranberry-apple sauce in a pretty glass bowl.

All-Natural Cranberry Sauce Recipe

The humble cranberry is so good-tasting and so good-looking and so good for you. This all-natural cranberry sauce is made without any refined sugar. It is so good that even people who hate cranberry sauce love it. It has been wowing my Thanksgiving guests for years. I will also share a few tips for using leftover cranberry sauce.

What Are Super-Foods?

The so-called “super-foods” inhibit the oxidation that leads to free radicals. These free-radicals can cause cell-death and inflammation. This inflammation can inhibit the immune system leading to disease. Cranberries are high in anti-oxidants, as are apples, berries, beans and some other foods.

What Are Cranberries?

Before we get to the recipe, let's start with a few facts about cranberries. Cranberries are a healthy anti-oxidant rich super-food. Cranberries are grown in sandy bogs and marshes in the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere They grow on low creeping evergreen shrubs or vines up to about seven feet long and about two to eight inches in height.

The flowers are dark pink and are fertilized by bees. The fruit is a berry that is initially white but turns a deep red with fully ripe. It has a very acidic taste and thus requires sweetening when used in recipes.

The cranberry ripens in the fall and is very popular as a side dish for Thanksgiving turkey as cranberry sauce. Many people say they hate cranberry sauce. What they mean is they hate the over-sweetened glop that comes in cans. Try the recipe below. I guarantee they will love it.

Fresh cranberries are also excellent in breads or pies. I make a wonderful cranberry-orange breakfast bread every winter. I also make a quick cranberry pie using canned cherries and raw cranberries. If your store offers a buy-one-get-one-free special on cranberries, make sure to get your free bag of cranberries. They keep very well in the freezer until you are ready to use them for another recipe.

The cranberry is also processed into juice. If you buy cranberry juice in the store, be sure to read the label. You want cranberry juice that has been sweetened with apple juice or grape juice and not cane sugar or high fructose-corn syrup.

Apples and cranberries go together perfectly.

Apples and cranberries go together perfectly.

Ingredients for Cranberry-Apple Sauce

  • 2 cups tart apples, (cored, peeled and chopped)
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries, (1 12-ounce bag)
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • pinch salt
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, about 2 to 3 inches long
  • 1 tbsp arrowroot, (or cornstarch)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
The ingredients for Cranberry-Apple Sauce are placed in a pot.

The ingredients for Cranberry-Apple Sauce are placed in a pot.

Instructions for Cranberry-Apple Sauce

  1. Put the cranberries into a colander and rinse them. Pick over the cranberries to remove any stems or berries that are bruised
  2. Add the cranberries, chipped apples, raisins, maple syrup, salt, cloves, and cinnamon stick to 2-quart pot.
  3. Let it come to a boil, and then reduce the heat so it boils slowly. Cover the pot and let it cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until the cranberries have burst open. Stir occasionally while cooking.
  4. Stir the arrowroot into the half cup of water until it is dissolved. Add it to the cranberry mixture in the pot and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens. The mixture will be cloudy at first, and then it will turn bright red within about a minute.
  5. When it turns bright red, it is done. Remove from the stove and let it cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice.
  6. Pour the sauce into a serving bowl and let it chill in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. Before serving, remove the cinnamon stick and the cloves. (The cloves may be hard to find. You should count out exactly six cloves when you prepare the recipe so you know how many you are looking for.)
  7. The recipe makes about 6 cups of sauce.

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Uses for Leftover Cranberry-Apple Sauce

I hope you are lucky enough to have leftovers. Heres what to do with them:

  • Add some of this sauce to turkey sandwiches.
  • Serve it with pork loin or pork chops. Great with chicken too.
  • Mix it into cooked oatmeal.
  • It is also great spooned over ice cream, pound cake, or bread pudding.
  • Use as a topping for cheesecake.
  • Lightly toast a slice of rustic artisan whole-wheat bread. Spread goat cheese or brie on the bread. Top with this sauce.
  • Mix it into plain yogurt. Or make a yogurt parfait layering yogurt cranberry sauce and granola.
I wrote a poem of praise for cranberries.

I wrote a poem of praise for cranberries.

I like my cranberry sauce so much, I wrote a poem about it.

An Ode to a Cranberry

The humble cranberries

born in a marshy bog,

like shiny red baubles

in the water they bob.

Swept into a net

on a crisp autumn day,

to be bagged in plastic,

to be sent far away.

Now lined up in a store,

looking very pretty,

like shiny red beanbags.

Buy one, and get one free.

Cooked with apples and raisins,

maple syrup, and a cinnamon stick—

Boiling, bursting bubbling,

becoming beauteously thick.

A shimmering bright red jelly,

set in a cut-glass bowl,

served chilled, and yet

warming my Thanksgiving soul.

© 2014 Catherine Giordano