In college my typical Thursday night would involve drinking too much, eating MSG laden ramen, and making bad life choices. Fortunately for the sake of my health (with the occasional relapse), now I just drink (higher quality alcohol), decide to start canning a pretty involved concoction at 11:45pm, and then proceed to drink all the ingredients (hello late 20’s). A few years back, I decided to openly declare that I really disliked the canned cranberry gelatin-like glop that my mother used to serve every year during holiday meals. To resolve the issue, she suggested that I try my hand at homemade cranberry sauce. To say the least, my first stab at cranberry sauce was not quite as satisfactory as I had hoped. I think the store bought extra pulp OJ may have been the culprit. I made further improvements last year by using orange zest, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Alas this attempt also failed to enticed the meal goers, and quickly landed itself a place in the dark depths of the refrigerator. Last night, after a few glasses of wine, and Thanksgiving only three weeks away, I decided that I would give it a go once again. This time I added apples, port, and a whole slew of other ingredients. Preliminary findings from my late night finger-tasting, resulted in a quality improved sweet and slightly tart mixture of cranberry goodness. I will definitely be bringing a jar or two of this Spiced Port Apple Cranberry Sauce to this year’s holiday festivities. This recipe can be easily modified by adding or omitting spices, or by substituting bourbon for the port. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!
UPDATE: after trying a jar of this tonight, I can say that it’s not too tart like typical sauce, it’s quite chunky, and it has a slight hint of sugar/spice… Pretty good!
- 9 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 3 baby apples-peeled, cored, and sliced (I used Ida Red)
- 1 juice of orange
- Orange zest from 1 orange
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1-1/2 cup white sugar
- 1-1/3 cup ruby port
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 2 inch fresh ginger (peeled and grated)
- 2 cup water
- 4-5 star anise flowers
- 1 Tbsp whole cloves
- In a large-sized, non-reactive pot bring vinegar, water, orange juice, and sugar to a boil.
- Put star anise flowers and cloves in a tea bag/ball or cheesecloth bag. Add spice bag, cinnamon, orange zest, and ginger to sugar mixture. Return to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened.
- Add sliced apples to liquid mixture. Cook on low heat for 3 minutes or until tender. Add cranberries and port. Stirring occasionally cook for 10-15 minutes until cranberries begin to pop and desired consistency is reached.
- Fill prepared jars. Wipe rims and apply lids and rings (finger tight). Add to water-bath canner and cook for 15 minutes covered (start timer when water begins to boil). After 15 minutes, remove from heat, let jars sit in uncovered pot for an additional 5 minutes (this will help prevent siphoning). Remove from canner, let cool on towel or rack for 24 hours.