I can still remember it as if it was yesterday. We were all gathered in La Grande, Oregon at my grandpa’s house. Every cousin, aunt and uncle were anxiously awaiting dinner. There were gobs of us running around, the adults in the kitchen or dealing with kids being wild with excitement, the kids rolling pool balls down Grandpa’s stairs and trying to catch them in his old cowboy hat. Grandpa wasn’t thrilled. Now I understand. Finally we were all rounded up for a blessing on the food and it was time to dig in. We all had paper plates because with 6 kids who all had 4-6 kids of their own there wasn’t time for dishes. Tables were everywhere. And then someone passed me something red, jiggly and that literally looked like the inside of a can with rings running all around it and people were taking slices. What? No. This could not be real food. This looked awful and people were eating it!
Years later I’ve learned that no one has to eat that canned stuff, no what I’ve got for you today is better than Grandma’s spiced orange blackberry cranberry sauce. That’s right, there’s a pop of blackberry in there. Ohhhh buddy. It’s fresh, incredibly flavorful and it makes a killer leftover turkey sandwich. More on that later…
There’s three things you should know about cranberry sauce. Obviously you start with fresh cranberries, but there’s more to it than that. First, it’s incredibly easy so don’t you dare buy it ever again. Second, with smart ingredients it will literally taste more like an amazing sauce from the nicest restaurant than some congealed goop. We bust out our McCormick Gourmet spices all the time but especially at the holidays. They have better flavor and you absolutely can tell the difference in your recipes. I want my guests wowed and I especially feel good if they request the recipe because they think something special is going on when in reality it’s just using high quality spices that enhance the already amazing flavor from fresh ingredients.
The secret to this recipe is using Ground Ginger and Ancho Chili Powder. No really. There’s cinnamon in there too which offers a nice warmth, but the ginger gives it that holiday feel and the ancho adds the tiniest kick. If you know me you know I don’t do spicy, but in this case it melds so nicely with the fresh berries, bright pop of orange and the sweetness from the sugar so it’s really quite perfect.
And Lastly, do not overcook the berries. I know it gets kind of fun to watch them burst and the blackberries breakdown, plus those bright colors are beautiful, but the more pectin the harder time it will have setting up so resist. Resist I tell you! Cook until it’s just turned into a jelly with a few berries still intact and allow to rest in the fridge as the flavors will enhance even more. And guess what, we actually make ours like a month in advance, stick it in a food saver bag, suck out the air and freeze it until Thanksgiving. It totally works and saves me from one more recipe to make. Now go try it out and let Grandma keep her cans in the pantry.
Does Cranberry Sauce go With Ham?
We usually think of cranberry sauce being served with turkey
Cranberry sauce can be eaten with other meats also.
Cranberry sauce pairs nicely with ham.
Can Cranberry Sauce be Frozen?
Homemade cranberry sauce freezes very well.
Pack it in an airtight container or a sealable freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months.
Freezing canned cranberry sauce is not recommended.
Does Cranberry Sauce Thicken as it Cools?
Homemade cranberry sauce is meant to thicken as it cooks.
If your sauce does not thicken, you may want to add a thickening agent such as cornstarch or gelatin.
Better Than Grandma’s Orange Blackberry Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Better than Grandma's Spiced Orange Blackberry Cranberry Sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Orange Zest, about 1 large orange
- 4 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
- 3 Tablespoons Cranberry Juice
- 1/3 Cup Dark or Light Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Honey
- 1/2 Teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Saigon Cinnamon
- 1/4 Teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Ground Ginger
- 1/4-1/2 Teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Ancho Chili Powder
- 1 Bag Fresh Cranberries, 12oz
- 1 Cup Frozen Blackberries
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the cranberry juice, orange juice (reserving the zest for the end), brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, ginger and chili powder.
- Bring to a boil and turn to medium low.
- Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the cranberries and continue to simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add the blackberries and cook an additional 5-10 minutes or until the berries have popped and the sauce is beginning to thicken.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the orange zest.
- Allow to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour, covered in a dish.
- Sit at room temperature for a bit before serving to take the chill off.
- Serve with poultry.