A reader recipe! What first attracted me to this recipe: the convenience of the slow cooker. What keeps me coming back: it fills the house with a sweet aroma of cranberries, fresh ginger and orange zest!
Last fall, reader Karen Grosvenor responded to my complaints about slow cookers (see Easy Chicken or Turkey Tortilla Soup), suggesting her favorite slow cooker cookbook, Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook. She even gave a head start by recommending the Overnight Steel-Cut Oatmeal (excellent!), Ratatouille, Applesauce, the Salsa Chicken (excellent!) and Easy Cheesy Ravioli Casserole, which she says, believe it or not, is better in the slow cooker than the oven.
Karen also sent along this easy way to make cranberry sauce in the slow cooker, explaining, “My mother and I found this recipe for Homemade Whole Cranberry Sauce in Parade Magazine years ago. Even those who don't like cranberry sauce like it, including children, my mother-in-law and (formerly) me."
She went on,"In theory, cranberry sauce is easy, but it always seems to take longer than I think and requires lots of stirring and asking, ‘Is it done yet?’ Now I just throw it in my slow cooker and let it go while I prepare my other Thanksgiving dishes.”
Thanks, Karen, your recipe for Homemade Cranberry Sauce recipe is a winner!
The size of your slow cooker matters here. I use my favorite small red slow cooker, the one that's so perfect small batches, especially for one or two. But I have the idea if you were to make this in a larger slow cooker, it could well burn quickly because of more surface area for the same volume. To counteract this, just double the recipe.
HOMEMADE WHOLE CRANBERRY SAUCE for the SLOW COOKER
Time to table: 3 hours
Makes 2-1/2 cups for a small slow cooker, double the recipe for a larger slow cooker
- 12 ounces (340g) fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1-1/2 cups (300g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon orange zest (from about 2 oranges)
- 3/4 cup (200g) fresh orange juice (from about 2 large or 4 small oranges)
Finger through the cranberries under running water, seeking out soft or shriveled or unripe berries to discard.
Combine cranberries and remaining ingredients in a smaller slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 – 2-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. (After cooking, the mixture will “appear” to be quite liquid but once chilled will thicken slightly.)
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Keeps several days, even a couple of weeks, it's great to have on hand during the holidays for odds 'n' end uses both savory and sweet.
ALANNA’s TIPS If you like, cook the cranberry sauce a day (or several days) ahead. But then again, it really makes the kitchen smell good so consider putting it in the slow cooker early Thanksgiving morning. I love how this cranberry sauce leaves the cranberries soft and juicy but still, mostly whole. Use a lemon zester for the orange zest and a large-holed rasp for the fresh ginger. The orange and ginger flavors stay in the background but somehow they make the cranberries taste more like cranberries! I tried this recipe with both sugar and Stevia and loved the sugar batch, was much so-so on the stevia batch: the taste was “chemical-y” and it didn’t thicken. Bummer. The food blog Farm Fresh Feasts added beets and fresh ginger to make a Cranberry, Orange & Beet Salad. Creative!
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