Though it was actually eons ago, it seems like just yesterday that I made the oh-so-bold switch from jellied cranberry sauce to whole-berry sauce – both, of course, from a can. I was brave! I was sophisticated! I’d moved beyond can-shaped gel into the world of actual real berries! It was definitely a revelation – but nothing compared to the life-changing discovery of homemade cranberry sauce a few years after that. Seriously, where had it been all my life?!
Since then, because I can never leave well enough alone, I’ve tinkered with homemade cranberry sauce recipes every November. I seriously think I brought three different varieties to Thanksgiving last year, one of which was this ginger pear cranberry sauce. Thanks for not complaining about cranberry overload, family!
I love how this cranberry sauce is just different enough to be special, but not so weird that it doesn’t go with the usual Thanksgiving dishes. The pears add nice natural sweetness – not too much, but enough to reduce the overall sugar a bit, which I love.
Ginger and pear make a natural, well, pair – the fresh ginger in this recipe adds a nice little bite, but not an overwhelming one. A cinnamon stick thrown in while it simmers and some freshly ground nutmeg round out the wonderful fall flavors.
When you first add everything to the saucepan, this recipe looks a bit like it’s going to be pear sauce with a few cranberries thrown in. But never fear – by the time it’s done, the pear cooks down and the cranberries are the star of the show. Which is the way it should be, of course.
Oh, and another cool thing about this – or pretty much any – homemade cranberry sauce is that it freezes perfectly. Make it now (it takes less than 30 minutes!) and throw it in the freezer. One less thing to worry about on Thanksgiving Day!
- 3 cups fresh cranberries (12 ounces)
- ½ cup sugar, plus more to taste
- 3 medium pears (Anjou, Bartlett, and Bosc are all good) (about 1½ pounds total), peeled, cored, and diced
- Thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely minced (about 2 tablespoons minced)
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 4-inch cinnamon stick
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup water
- Add all ingredients to a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, simmering for about 15 minutes or until the berries burst and the sauce thickens.
- Taste and add additional sugar, a teaspoon or two at a time, until you've reached your desired balance of tart and sweet.
- Cool completely and serve. Keeps in an airtight refrigerated container for up to a week; freeze for up to three months.