Cranberry sauce is such an underrated holiday side dish. You either love it or you hate it. If you love it, chances are someone in your family is making it from scratch . If you hate it, chances are someone in your family is opening a can of cranberry sauce-like substance and plopping it on the table. My family's holiday spreads are infamous for the latter. My mother is probably the only person I know that actually likes canned cranberry sauce (like REALLY likes it). If it weren't for her, the glob of it on every single one of our holiday tables would remain untouched.
Needlesstosay, I've never been a huge fan of cranberry sauce. It wasn't until one of my coworkers introduced me to her homemade cranberry sauce that I truly began to appreciate and actually enjoy it. I knew I had to come up with a recipe of my own that was just as delicious using clean, Paleo-friendly ingredients (no can necessary), so that's exactly what I did.
There are roughly 9,174 homemade cranberry sauce recipes on the Internet (give or take), so when I set out to develop my own recipe I knew I had to find a way to set mine apart.
So why is this one different than the rest?
It's refined-sugar free and it has raspberries! Yup! The flavor combinations of fresh date paste, cranberries and raspberries, Dijon and a perfect blend of warm, cozy spices make this recipe to die for!
So what exactly is in this Homemade Sugar-Free Cranberry Raspberry Sauce?
- Pitted Medjool Dates aka Nature's Candy
- Fresh Cranberries
- Fresh Raspberries
- Fresh Orange Juice
- Fresh Lemon Juice
- Dijon Mustard - I know this may sound strange, but trust me on this. The sharp flavor of Dijon balances out the sweetness of the raspberries and the tanginess of the cranberries.
- Whole Black Peppercorns
- Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger and Cloves
...and that's it. Simple, real food ingredients transformed into a delicious traditional holiday condiment. Unlike it's jiggly cylinder-shaped canned nemesis, this cranberry sauce will impress your guests and actually be eaten!
It's a wonder why anyone serves the canned stuff at holiday gatherings. Making cranberry sauce from scratch is so easy! It's honestly just a matter of simmering the berries until they burst along with some sort of sweetener and flavorful spice, and then letting it chill before serving. That's almost as easy as opening a can. Okay, it's definitely more labor-intensive than opening a can but it's worth it.
So how do you make Cranberry Raspberry Sauce refined-sugar free? Simple. Begin by making homemade date paste!
In order to make this sauce refined sugar-free, you're going to make your own sweetener using nature's candy aka Medjool dates. Simply soak the whole dates in a bowl of hot water for about 10 minutes and then blend the dates in a blender or food processor with ¼ cup of the warm water until a paste consistency is reached. It's okay if there are still visible bits of dates in the paste. They'll add more texture to the sauce and make it even more delicious.
So what's next?
In a small saucepan, add ¾ cups of water along with the cranberries and raspberries and bring the liquid to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, reduce the heat (you don't want the water to overflow), and continue to simmer for 7 to 10 minutes or until the berries begin to burst. Using a fork or heavy spoon, mash any remaining whole berries.
The consistency of this sauce is truly what you make it. If you're aiming for a smoother sauce, put a bit more elbow grease into smashing those berries. If you're like me and prefer a chunkier sauce, don't mash the berries quite as much.
Last but not least, add the remaining ingredients. Stir in the fresh-squeezed orange and lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt, peppercorns, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and the homemade date paste. Let the sauce simmer for an additional few minutes until it thickens and the desired consistency is reached.
...and that's a wrap!
Before serving, I recommend bringing the sauce to room temperature before letting it chill completely in the fridge. The flavor of this sauce gets even better over a few days, so I recommend making it in advance. It keeps for 3 to 5 days in the fridge and can even be frozen for up to 2 months and then defrosted before serving. It's best served chilled, so simply scoop it into something pretty and put it on the table. Done and done.
Uses for the leftovers, if by chance you have leftovers: simply use it up like jam! Stir it into yogurt or oatmeal or spread it on toast! YUM!
I really hope this recipe aids in my effort to eradicate the canned stuff, so repeat after me -"I will not serve canned cranberry sauce at any of my holiday gatherings this year." Got it? Ok. Good. If you make it, I'm almost positive you'll never go back to the canned stuff again (unless you like it as much as my mother). Not even her daughter's own recipe could get her to put down the can.
If you make this recipe, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments or tag me on the gram (@paleoishkrista) and hashtag your pics with #paleoishkristaeats! Enjoy! 🙂
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Homemade Sugar-Free Cranberry Raspberry Sauce
For the date paste
- 10 whole pitted medjool dates
- 1 cup hot water
For the sauce
- ¾ cup water
- 6 ounces fresh cranberries
- 6 ounces fresh raspberries
- 1 orange (juiced) about ½ cup
- ½ lemon (juiced) about 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon peppercorns
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger just a pinch
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves just a pinch
For the date paste
- Soak dates in a bowl of hot water for 10 minutes. Transfer softened dates and ¼ cup of the hot water to a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture reaches a paste consistency.
For the sauce
- In a saucepan, add ¾ cups water, cranberries and raspberries. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 7 to 10 minutes or until the berries begin to burst. Mash any whole berries with the back of a fork or spoon.
- Stir in orange juice, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, peppercorns, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and prepared date paste. Simmer for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken.
- Remove from heat and let cool completely. Freeze or store in fridge until ready to serve.