Generally, there are three types of people: Those who won't eat cranberry sauce at all. Those who like it cooked and gelatinous. And those who prefer their sauce raw. I fall firmly into the raw camp. It is simply not a Thanksgiving meal without that tart, sweet, fresh, palate-cleansing, and gorgeously magenta blob of cranberry sauce on my plate.
The recipe I use is easy, but it needs to be made a day or two in advance for the sauce to reach its peak flavor. My mother made it, and now I make it too.
Maria's Cranberry Sauce:
2 cups organic fresh raw cranberries
2 organic oranges or tangerines (especially important that they're organic, since you are going to use the skins)
½ cup sugar (or to taste--depending on how tart or sweet you want it)
1. Rinse the cranberries and put them into a food processor or blender.
2. Squeeze the juice out of one of the oranges and add it to the cranberries.
3. Cut the other orange up into bits, skin and all (cut off the ends or any ugly bits), and add that in as well. Grind the mixture into rough bits (don't make it too smooth).
4. Pour the mix into a bowl, add the sugar, and stir.
5. Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. The sugar doesn't really do its job until then--so you can't really tell if it's too sweet or too tart until after. The color will deepen as well; it's basically the "maceration" process. It's good.
6. You're done! Serve it cold and in a pretty bowl on Thanksgiving Day. Or eat it later with yogurt and whipped cream! Or with ice cream for dessert or a snack.
Some people doctor this sauce up by adding walnuts (not so bad) or liquor (terrible idea! But I don't drink, remember?).
While I think this cranberry sauce is one of the top three, or maybe five, important parts of a Thanksgiving meal, I know others who won't touch it with a 10-foot pole (my husband), and some who much prefer the cooked kind. Yuck! What about you? Take our poll.
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com.