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Cranberry Crazed

A key ingredient to a tasty Thanksgiving is cranberries.

This is a great time of year to delve into all things cranberry.

You probably already know cranberries are little powerhouses of vitamins, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and even fiber.    

I hope you'll try this recipe. This quick and delicious cranberry sauce only takes about 10 minutes to make and tastes 100 times better than canned sauce.

You can leave out the Grand Marnier, but if you do, you'll want more orange flavor in your sauce. You can achieve this by using a bit more of the orange juice concentrate.  

It's always a sticky matter to finely dice crystallized ginger cubes. If you have a sturdy metal garlic press (not plastic, as it tends to hold odors), try pressing the crystallized ginger cubes through your press. Otherwise, use a very sharp knife and pour hot water over the blade before you start chopping.   

If you don't have crystallized ginger, you can substitute fresh ginger. Since ginger varies wildly in taste and heat, start with ½ teaspoon and add more to suit your taste. Peel the ginger and press a small piece through your garlic press.   

Cranberry Sauce

1 12-oz. package fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over

1 cup white sugar

1/3 cup canned orange juice concentrate, thawed and stirred

2/3 cup water

4 cubes crystallized ginger

¼ cup Grand Marnier 

In a large saucepan, dissolve the sugar into the concentrate and water. Cook on medium until sugar is dissolved. Add the cranberries and cook on medium about 10 minutes, until you see and hear the berries pop.  

Not all the berries will pop, and that's fine. If you don't want whole berries, you can press them against the side of the pan with your spoon.

Popping the berries is my favorite part! Kids enjoy that as well. 

Add the Grand Marnier and simmer for a few more minutes. Taste the sauce, add more sugar and ginger if necessary. Cook until the sauce is thick.

Let the sauce cool and place in a pretty clear glass bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap, store in refrigerator. 

If you're not planning to make your own sauce, you can easily tart up canned cranberry sauce. Make it a couple days prior to Thanksgiving and store it in the fridge for the flavors to meld. 

Pour the cranberry sauce in a pan on medium low heat. When the sauce is warm, add one (or more) of these items:

2 - 3 tablespoons of orange marmalade

1/3 cup golden raisins

1 diced apple

1 diced pear

¼ cup Port wine

¼ pomegranate juice

¼ cup apple juice

¼ cup toasted pecans or walnuts

If you can find it, try McCutcheon's Orange Cranberry Marmalade in your cranberry sauce. McCutcheon's Apple Products, Inc. is a wonderful company based in Frederick. They don't always stock this marmalade year round, but I saw it in Magruder's last week.

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