The quintessential fall sauce
This time every fall I make tart spiced maple sweetened cranberry sauce (aka chutney) to use for the holidays and also enjoy it on pretty everything sweet and savory this season. This cranberry sauce is amazing on buttered toast or over granola and yogurt in the morning or with pancakes, and also in savory sandwiches. It’s so easy to make and gets quite thick naturally because cranberries are so tart, so you don’t need to add thickeners like pectin. I use maple syrup to sweeten this lush sauce for a refined-sugar free method, but you can use any sweetener you’d like. The flavor of maple syrup goes really well with the spices too. You can also adjust the amount of sweetener to your liking. I like cranberry sauce to be on the tart side. Taste it as it’s cooking and add more if you want. The tart cranberries get infused with flavors of sweet orange, cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise. As a bonus, the house smells so wonderful when this is bubbling on the stove.
A celebration of Nantucket’s history
A couple of week’s ago the island celebrated it’s cranberry harvest with the annual Nantucket Cranberry Festival. We try to make it every year and the weather is usually always stellar for the festival. This year did not disappoint with beautiful blue skies and light mild breeze. The barn swallows were flying like crazy over the flooded bogs. It was such a lovely day and seemed like the whole island came out for it. Iley was taken with the antique cranberry sorter, which sorts out the best berries by how high they bounce. The higher the bounce the better, because cranberries are hollow inside and filled with air. This is also why they float in water. To harvest cranberries the farmers flood the bogs with water, then pick the berries off the plants with a machine harvester that moves in the water (see the photos below), and the berries float to the top. Scroll down to see some snaps from this day.
Are you a fan of cranberries? What do you like to make with them? Another favorite use of cranberries in our house is cranberry-orange skillet corncake and cranberry orange almond scones. So yummy!
scroll down for recipe…
Maple Sweetened Cranberry Sauce
Yield 2 cups
This lush cranberry sauce is sweetened with maple syrup and infused with orange, cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise. A must-have for any holiday table!
- 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1-1/2 cups maple syrup (or more to taste)
- 1 orange
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 star anise pod
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 split vanilla bean
- Rinse cranberries if fresh and add them to a saucepan. Cut orange in half and squeeze juice in to saucepan, catching any seeds. Add the squeezed out orange halves to the pan as well.
- Add everything else to pan and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes until a thick jammy consistency is reached.
- Remove from heat and remove orange halves and whole spices.
- Pour cranberry sauce into a clean glass jar and let it cool to room temp. Then cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Will keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Sauce may also be canned in a hot water bath for a shelf life of up to 1 year.
- Recipe may be multiplied for larger batches.
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