Homemade Cranberry Sauce

What could be easier than putting all ingredients together in one pan and cooking until done?

It really is as simple as that.

Homemade cranberry sauce was one of the first things I learned how to make at the holidays when I was a child. While many in the family love the jellied canned sauce, I have always found it to be too sweet and too jiggly. I like texture and tartness, so if I make my own, I get to control the sugar. I also get to add other little enhancements: orange, lemon, lime, sage, even horseradish.

My favorite way to make this is with lime zest and juice. I zest the lime, squeeze the juice into a cup measure and top off with water to make a full cup.

12 ounces Vermont cranberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar, or to taste

1 cup water or citrus juice

Zest of one lime or lemon or orange

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Place cranberries, sugar, and water (juice) in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Test for sweetness after a few minutes (careful to not burn your tongue) and add up to another half cup of sugar if desired.

Add the zest and extract and mix well. Cranberries have a great deal of natural pectin in them, so this will thicken up considerably as it chills.

This will make a little over a pint.

Cranberry Horseradish Sauce: Omit the vanilla at the end and add 1 tbsp. of prepared horseradish.