An utterly amazing flavor combo in this Gluten Free Clementine Cranberry Sauce that’s perfect for your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast! Cooked with a mixture of sugar and maple syrup and combined with a splash of clementine juice for a zesty, tangy, wintery sauce.
Did you know that ripe cranberries can bounce? Well now you do.
There you go. A random Thanksgiving fact for you that I got from reading a Thanksgiving book to my girls tonight. There were a bunch of other random facts, all of which my kids couldn’t care less about, but when I mentioned the cranberry bouncing, they were intrigued.
It’s probably because they’re seen me with cranberries in the kitchen all week. I’ve been whipping up dishes with cranberries for the last week, trying to use up the 2 lb. bag I bought from Costco. But hey, when a bag of cranberries from Costco costs the same as a bag half the size at the regular grocery store…you buy it and figure out recipes later.
One dish I knew for sure I wanted to make this year was my very own homemade cranberry sauce. I know it’s easy peasy and almost everyone has their own version of the “perfect cranberry sauce”, but I was excited to try my hand at it.
I remember growing up and every Thanksgiving we would have two types of cranberry sauce. Don’t get too excited. They were both from a can.
Yep, on one side of the table was the can-molded cranberry jelly that was sliced into perfectly shaped jiggly cylinders, and on the other side of the table was the slightly more appealing whole cranberry jelly, stirred just enough to mix the gelatinous substance into a slightly less jell-oey looking goo.
My picky adolescent taste buds, that wouldn’t even put spaghetti sauce on pasta, just eyed those two sauces every Thanksgiving and Christmas with the utmost look of pure disgust. Who eats jelly on meat anyway??? GROSS!
That was until I grew up, became more adventurous with food, and sampled a variety of homemade cranberry sauces and fresh cranberry relishes. That stuff can be really good if made right. And, by golly, slap some on-point cranberry sauce on top of my meat any day. It’s DEE-gobble me up-LICIOUS!
Ben’s grandma used to make this cranberry relish every year where she would grind fresh cranberries, oranges, and apples all together. It was like crack on your plate. You wanted to put it on everything.
Mashed potaotes? HECK YES!
Homemade rolls? H@#% YES!
You get the point. If I mention one more food item that it tasted divine with, I might have to throw in some actual expletives. And that would be downright inappropriate and sassy of me.
What made this relish so addictive was the fresh citrus that shined through the cranberries. Cranberries and orange are just a holiday must. I’ve used this flavor combo in pie, cupcakes, and a killer layered cake (recipe coming soon), each with high praise from taste testers.
Plus this flavor combo doubles as the most delightful holiday aroma, just wafting it’s way through your house. Much more appealing than the stagnant mildew-y air that is filling my house after 4 days of straight nonstop rain.
As much as I love cranberry relish, I wanted to take these same flavors and create a cranberry sauce instead. I love the sauce for spreading on rolls and making leftover turkey sandwiches, and since nobody from our families will be here for Thanksgiving this year, I needed to buckle down and make some myself.
This Gluten Free Clementine Cranberry Sauce is first of all, hands down, GORGEOUS! I mean, look at that beautiful red hue. You ain’t gonna see none of that plopping out of a can.
But then once you get past the admiration of color and actually eat it, your taste buds will literally throw a full on party. Not the kind of dinner party with name cards for seating and fancy arrangements of excessive silverware. More like the party with headbanging hooligans smashing vases and tabletops. The one where your neighbors call the cops because it’s gettin’ full on OFF THE HOOK up in there!
Sounds about right.
There is so much flavor in this sauce. Yes, you have the cranberry flavor, of course. But then you get this tangy and citrus-y punch of clementine, which is slightly more tart than an orange, that just makes you smile. It’s tangy enough for a little eye pop, but no so much to bring on a mouth pucker.
Plus the tart is toned down by the combination of sugar and pure maple syrup. Yes, maple syrup. It’s very subtle, but you get just a hint of maple in the background. And what doesn’t go better with a little maple than some cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice??? Again, very subtle, but enough to make you say, “This sure ain’t from a can!!! There is some actual FLAVOR in here!”
You guys, I’m telling you, there will be no other cranberry sauce ever made again at your house once you try this recipe. I will swear by it. Pretend like it’s your own secret family recipe handed down by generations and generations of grannies. I don’t care. Just make it. Even your turkey will thank you. Yes, I’m pretty sure your turkey’s dying wish will be, “At least adorn me with some clementine cranberry sauce. PLEEEEASE! Make this tragedy worth it!”
So grant that turkey’s last request.
Are you a cranberry sauce or a cranberry relish fan?
- 4 cups fresh cranberries, rinsed and drained
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ⅓ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (from about 4 clementines)
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon grated clementine rind
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice
- dash of ground ginger
- In a medium sized sauce pan add 3 cups cranberries and remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and dissolve sugar.
- Bring mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add remaining cup of cranberries and cook for 8 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
- Remove mixture from heat and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3-4 hours until cold. Stir before serving.
- Store extra sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.