I went on a hunt to make my own sauce this year (of course) and found a lot of variations. This is my own interpretation using elements from this month’s Taste of Home magazine (I get a subscription each year from my grandma) and the Bernardin book of home preserving.
Note to self: I first made this with half an onion and two apples, since this was the first time I was making this. The yield was exactly 6 half-pint (or 8 oz) jars. I would redo it with a whole onion and only one apple next time.
- 2 bags (12 oz each) of cranberries, rinsed; this is approx 7 cups total
- 2 cortland apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped; store in lemon-water until use
- 1 red onion, finely chopped; the amount depends on the size of the onion and how much you like the taste
- 1 muslin spice bag: 2 cinnamon stick snapped in half, 8 whole all spice, 6 whole cloves
- 2 cups sugar, but I think you can reduce it by up to ½ cup depending on taste
- 1½ cups water
- Combine the sugar and water in a non-reactive pot. Add the spice bag and bring to a boil. Continue to boil 5 minutes, stirring so the sugar dissolves.
- Add the apple and onion. Return to a boil and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. This will give them a little extra time to soften.
- Add the cranberries and gently mix in. Return to a boil, reduce heat and cook gently, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The berries should burst and the liquid form a jell (like a jam setting); it could take anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes. I started to hear the berry skins cracking right away and it was very foamy. None of the recipes I consulted mentioned how to deal with that, but it seemed to disapate as soon as I removed it from the heat; so I ignored it and canned it as is without any skimming.
- At this point, you could add ¼ of rum and the grated zest of 1 orange (you can also do either/or substitute OJ) and return to a boil. This is optional. I’ve also heard lime and vodka go well, or dry red wine with crystalized ginger as alternative combinations.
- Remove from heat and remove the spice bag. Ladle into hot jars, leaving ¼” head space. Remove any air bubbles, wipe the rim and set the lids and bands. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, then remove jars to cool for 24 hours.
I believe this recipe can easily be halved. The left overs can be mixed with cream cheese to make a great spread for left over turkey sandwiches or baked over brie (my favorite, as you know by now).