Ah, cranberry sauce. Folks usually fall into either the jellied or whole berry lines of thinking. Me, I'm a jellied fan though I haven't been willing to buy cranberry sauce for years because of the nasty high fructose corn syrup found in most of them. I have seen nice organic sauces at "Whole Paycheck" but never tried them because cranberry sauce is pretty simple to make. A few years back (about the time we discovered the corn allergy), I volunteered to make the sauce and have been doing it ever since. Funny thing was, the host forgot I was bringing sauce and opened up four cans of the main brand stuff. They were still sitting in their dishes, practically untouched when the feast was over. Mine were demolished. ☺ I got a kick out of it and decided my recipe was a winner. Give it a try, tailor the spices to your liking and leave as much whole berries in as you please. But do try making your own one year. I doubt you'll ever go back to canned.
Mulled Cranberry Sauce
makes about 2 pints
22 oz cranberries (approx. 4½-5 cups) fresh or frozen is fine
1 cup water
¾ cup Ruby Port
¼ cup orange juice
2 tbsp candied ginger chips (or chopped chunks)
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
1¾ cups sugar
½ tsp almond extract
Wash the cranberries and drain. Pick them over for any duds. Combine berries, ginger, water, port and juice in a large sauce pot. Place the cinnamon stick and cloves in a spice bag or a piece of cheesecloth doubled and tied. Add that to the pot and boil until the cranberry skins burst. Remove spice bag. Purée cranberry mixture using a food mill or food processor. (I use the medium disc of my food mill.) Return mixture to pot and add sugar. Boil mixture almost to gelling point.* (Sauce will start to thicken and drop in partial sheets from a spoon.) Cranberries have plenty of pectin so go slow or it might end up a really stiff sauce. I like to put a small plate or custard cup in the freezer and do periodic checks with a dollop of sauce to see the cooled consistency. ☺ Mix in the almond extract when the sauce is to your liking. You can process the sauce in canning jars - 15 minutes in a boiling water canner if you like. We don't do that anymore because it never lasts long enough to need canning.
This jellied sauce will be firm enough to hold its shape in a pretty mold if you wish. Otherwise, a straight sided jar or container makes removal easier when serving.
* If you prefer a whole berry sauce, you don't need to do the additional cooking, just make sure all the sugar is dissolved and cook for about 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken as it cools.