Kinder Cranberry Sauce
Every year I wait for bags of fresh cranberries to appear in the grocery store. I always grab extra because I know that cranberries have an impressive nutritional profile. They’re a great source of vitamin C and a good source of several other vitamins and minerals. They are also a good source of anti-oxidants and anthocyanins; nutrients that are both anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic.
Despite their health benefits, some people shy away from cranberries because they are sour and even bitter in taste. If you do enjoy them, it may be in recipes that include lots of added sugar. One of those recipes that often appears on holiday tables is cranberry sauce.
It’s incredibly easy to make cranberry sauce from fresh cranberries and I’ve been experimenting with recipes to reduce the sugar and the tartness. A few recipe versions I’ve tried substitute some of the cranberries for other berries, like blackberries, or with another fruit, like apples. The recipe that has become my favorite combines cranberries with frozen sweet cherries.
Here is the recipe that will appear on my holiday table. I call it kinder cranberry sauce because the sweet cherries help to balance the tartness of the cranberries and because it uses dates as the sweetener, so it contains no added sugar.
Kinder Cranberry Sauce
• 6 Medjool dates (Medjool dates are juicier and sweeter than other dried dates.)
• 1 cup orange juice (I use fresh oranges and sometimes add the zest from one orange to the sauce.)
• 1 12-oz. bag of fresh cranberries
• 1 cup frozen sweet cherries
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
• ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
• ¼ teaspoon allspice
Add the dates to a small bowl and cover them with hot water. Let them sit for about 60 minutes. Drain the dates and combine them with the orange juice in the blender. Blend until smooth. Rinse and drain the cranberries and add them to a large saucepan. Add the cherries, blended date mixture, and the spices to the pan. Cook the mixture over medium-high heat until the cranberries begin to pop. Reduce heat to simmer and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate and serve cold. Can be made several days in advance.
If there are leftovers, I mix it into my oatmeal for breakfast the next day. I’ve also eaten it on top of toasted bread spread with a little cream cheese or soft goat cheese. Delicious!