Forget turkey, stuffing, or mashed potatoes: nothing tastes more Thanksgiving than cranberry sauce. I grew up on the bouncy, uniform stuff, the kind that keeps the shape of the can and slides around the serving plate. I find it too sweet now, but I'm sentimental about the jiggle. (Do they even sell that stuff between January and September?)
I pulled out my canning equipment, for the first time in a couple of months, to make real cranberry sauce to eat and give away. Let me tell you, boiling four gallons of water for 20 minutes straight is more pleasant on a rainy day in November than in August.
I followed a recipe but tossed in some spices and whole orange. Citrus is acidic, and my jars have sealed, so I'm trusting there'll be no botulism. I cut the recipe in half below, in case you want to make your own cranberry sauce and store it in the fridge. I found the 2:1 ratio of cranberries to sugar a little sweet; you may want to reduce the sugar to 1½ cups. If you're not trying to can the sauce, you can play around with the recipe all you'd like.
Spiced Cranberry Sauce
Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
2 cups sugar (or less, if you'd like)
2 cups water
4 cups cranberries
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1/4 orange (with peel)
Pick through cranberries and discard any that are soft or shriveled. Secure cinnamon and cloves in a cheesecloth square.
In a large pot, boil water and sugar over high heat for 5 minutes. Add cranberries, spices, and orange and return to boil. Lower heat and simmer 15 minutes, until most of the cranberries have burst. Remove spices and orange.
Pour into a serving bowl or storage container and cool before serving. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Makes approximately 4½ cups.