Before I digress, which is what’s about to happen – I want to say that I’m very excited about this recipe. It’s the first year that I haven’t had to dump a bunch of sweetener into the cranberry sauce to make it palatable, yes that is right, sugar free cranberry sauce. I used pineapple instead (and just a little sweetener) and it tastes absolutely fantastic. The taste is classic enough though that there’s no need to worry about bucking tradition and freaking out Grandma. If you don’t have access to fresh pineapple you can substitute frozen, which works fine. Fresh cranberry sauce takes about 20 minutes to make and can be made 5 days ahead of time.
After 60 years of eating cranberries, I got interested in learning about them. Ripe cranberry bogs are gorgeous.
To harvest them, farmers corral them together and then suck the cranberries into a hose and dump them into a truck.
Where did the word cranberry come from? Blueberry, blackberry, and even strawberry are pretty self-explanatory. German settlers named them kraneberre because the tiny flower of the blooming cranberry plant resembles the head and bill of a crane. When they first bloom they’re upright and then gradually bend toward the ground like a crane. I can see that.
I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!
And now, for the sugar free cranberry sauce recipe:
- 1/2 ripe pineapple, peeled and core left on; or the equivalent frozen and thawed
- 2 pounds fresh whole cranberries, rinsed
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh, peeled ginger (I use a food processor)
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup xylitol (can substitute sugar)
- Cut pineapple into large chunks and pulverize in a food processor or Vitamix until very finely chopped and liquid-y.
- In a large saucepan, combine cranberries, pineapple, ginger, and xylitol or sugar. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer just until cranberries start to pop, about 7-12 minutes. Stir from time to time. Some cranberries should be left whole. If they all pop the sauce may be too liquid.
- Remove from heat, let cool and taste for sweetness. Add more xylitol or sugar to taste as required. But don't make them too sweet. This tastes good as a somewhat tart accompaniment to the rich Thanksgiving meal. Cranberries contain lots of natural pectin and the sauce will gel when cold.
- May be made 5 days ahead of time and kept refrigerated. Leftovers freeze well for months.