October means fresh cranberries are ushered into the produce section at the grocery store. Bags of Ocean Spray cranberries mean it’s time to make a batch of “Fresh Cranberry-Apricot Sauce.” Canned cranberry sauce was satisfactory, until I met up with a recipe that results in something delightful to eat before Thanksgiving and after Christmas, or for however long your stash of frozen, fresh cranberries lasts.
Good cranberries bounce. Rotten ones just sit where they are dropped. In order for cranberries to make it to the grocery store, they have to bounce over four-inch barriers multiple times. Those that can’t clear the hurdle are rejected. Cranberries are one of only three fruits considered to be native to America, and Cranberry Jello is the only flavor made with real fruit instead of artificial flavoring.
According to my penciled notes in my cookbook, I made the following recipe for the first time, Thanksgiving, 1991. Another note written by Hannah says, “Thanksgiving 2005 all by Hannah ‘cept chopping apricots.” I remember that she had fun listening to the distinctive popping of the cranberry skins splitting as they heated.
The sauce is also good on ice cream or stirred into plain yogurt, and it’s a nice contribution to a church pot luck. Just take the recipe along because someone will surely ask for it.
FRESH CRANBERRY-APRICOT SAUCE
1 (12-ounce) package of fresh cranberries
8 ounces dried apricots, chopped
1 1/4 cups sugar*
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup water
Combine all ingredients in a Dutch oven; cook over medium heat, stirring contantly, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve sauce warm or cold with poultry or pork. Yield: 4 cups.
From Southern Living 1987 Annual Recipes, p. 243
*If anybody makes it using sugar substitute, I would like to know the measurements.