I’ve officially started our Thanksgiving preparations here, which seems really early – but we have three Thanksgiving meals to attend and so I’ve started getting things together that can be prepared far in advance. This cranberry sauce freezes really well, and since it makes a lot, I can freeze in individual freezer bags already portioned for each of the events we’re attending (and maybe to eat with leftovers later).
My first introduction to cranberry sauce was the tinned kind, ejected (still in the shape of the ridged tin) onto a plate – while I know there are people who enjoy that, it’s definitely not my thing. This fresh cranberry sauce is so bright and full of flavour – and not to mention easy to make, that you’ll never need to buy the tinned stuff again. In keeping with the Mediterranean taste profile this recipe includes cardamom, orange (or tangerine), and a hint of orange blossom water – but the flavour is still very much in keeping with the usual holiday side dishes – nothing overpowers the freshness of the cranberries.
Can you freeze fresh cranberry sauce?
Absolutely! I make a large batch with this recipe ahead of time, and then pour into plastic bags and flatten them (be sure to use room-temperature or chilled cranberry sauce). To defrost them, all you need to do is remove from the freezer and allow to defrost overnight in the fridge. It’ll be ready to serve the next afternoon with your meal.
This recipe uses a large bag of cranberries, enough to fill three quart-sized plastic bags for the freezer (and maybe a little extra to use with leftovers after the holiday, as well).
The cardamom is just a hint of the spice, and the orange or tangerine adds another dimension of flavour and sweetness to this standard side. The final finish of orange blossom (or orange flower) water at the end gives it a little something extra, but ultimately it’s just a really delicious, simple cranberry sauce that will go perfectly with even the most traditional Thanksgiving side dishes.
This will keep in your fridge for about a week, and it’ll keep in the freezer if packaged correctly for up to six months – so go ahead, save yourself some time and make this cranberry sauce in advance so that you have less to worry about on the day.
Orange and Cardamom Cranberry Sauce
- Large saucepan
- 32 ounces fresh cranberries (900g)
- juice and zest of two tangerines (or one orange)
- 2 cups sugar (can increase to 2½-3 cups if you prefer a sweeter sauce) (550g)
- ¾ cup water (177ml)
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp orange blossom water
- In a large saucepan combine your fresh cranberries, zest and juice, sugar, water, and cardamom. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- The cranberries will begin to pop open as they heat, you'll want to cook them for about five minutes, until most of the berries have split and the sauce has thickened.
- Remove from the heat, stir in your orange blossom water, and allow to cool to room temperature (about thirty minutes), then place into a container in the fridge for another hour and a half, until cooled.