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Cranberry sauce is a Thanksgiving staple and can be made in a variety of ways.

iStockPhoto / Getty Images

I unearthed a bag of cranberries hidden in the back of my freezer just in time to make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. Termed a “superfruit” because they are high in antioxidants, vitamin C and may help fight bacterial infections, cranberries are tart, full of pectin and make wonderful sauces, jams, jellies, and juice. They are one of only a few native fruits, along with blueberries and Concord grapes, grown commercially in North America.

Here are a few different sauce versions for both the traditional turkey, other poultry, or ham, or a vegetarian or vegan main.

Classic cranberry sauce

Mix 12 oz (375 mL) of fresh or frozen cranberries with 1 cup sugar (any colour), honey or maple syrup in a medium saucepan. Stir in 1 cup water or orange juice, bring to boil and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the cranberries pop. Cool and refrigerate.

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For extra flavour, add whole spices such as star anise, cinnamon, cardamom or chilies. Remove whole spices before serving. Vanilla or grated citrus zest (orange, lemon, or lime) are other good additions. Good with all poultry and ham.

Cranberry chutney

Combine in a pot over medium-low heat, 1 green apple, cored and diced (about 1 cup), 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon chili flakes, and 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (375 mL package). Bring to a boil, and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes or until apple is soft and cranberry juices have reduced and thickened. Cool and refrigerate. Not too sweet and just slightly spicy, this chutney is excellent with turkey, duck and ham as well as curries and vegetarian dishes.

Cranberry-pomegranate sauce

In a pot, combine ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 cup pomegranate juice, and 3-star anise. Boil for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until cranberries pop, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. This tastes very cherry-like and is wonderful with all poultry, especially duck.

Cranberry, ginger and lime relish

In a food processor, combine 2 tablespoons grated orange rind, 1 navel orange, peeled and diced,1 tablespoon grated lime rind, 1 lime, peeled and cut in half. Pulse until finely chopped. Place 2 cups sugar and ½ cup water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and cook until sugar begins to turn light brown about 8 to 9 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger, ½ cup dried cranberries, 3 cups fresh cranberries, 2 1-inch pieces cinnamon, the food processor mixture and 4 Kaffir lime leaves if you have them. Otherwise continue without. Continue to simmer for about another 12 minutes until cranberries pop. Cool and refrigerate. This is good with salmon or other fish, vegetarian mains as well as poultry.

Need some advice about kitchen life and entertaining? Send your questions to lwaverman@globeandmail.com.

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