Cranberry sauce undoubtedly conjures up thoughts of the holidays. Sweet or slightly tart, cranberry sauce is generally served as a condiment but can be incorporated into many savory and sweet dishes.
If you have leftover cranberry sauce after your holiday festivities, don’t worry because you can freeze it to prevent waste and enjoy it again in the future. Below is a guide to preserving cranberry sauce successfully in the freezer.
Types of Cranberry Sauce
As its name suggests cranberry sauce is a sauce or relish made from cranberries traditionally served as a condiment with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Cranberry sauce can either be sweet or have a slightly sour taste depending on one’s preference and the recipe.
The sauce is made by boiling the berries in sugar water. The berries soften and the mixture will thicken. Citrus zest, orange juice, ginger, port, maple syrup, slivered almonds, and spices such as cinnamon are often added to the sauce giving it a true holiday flavor.
Commercially-produced cranberry sauce is somewhat different and can be either jellied, condensed, or a looser consistency. The jellied form comes in a can and holds its shape allowing it to be sliced if it is not heated.
Can I Freeze Cranberry Sauce?
Yes, cranberry sauce can be frozen to avoid waste and save money. Homemade cranberry sauce freezes very well whereas store-bought cranberry sauce does not freeze as well due to the jelly-consistency which may lose water and change texture on freezing.
As with any frozen food, it is important to protect the items from contact with air and moisture on freezing to prevent freezer burn. It is also best to freeze the cranberry sauce soon after it has been made to ensure an excellent quality product once thawed.
The older the sauce is when freezing, the worse the quality will be once thawed. Cranberry sauce that is nearing its expiry should not be frozen but rather used or discarded.
How To Freeze Cranberry Sauce
Step 1: Cool
If the cranberry sauce has been heated or freshly made, cool it to room temperature before freezing. Freezing the cranberry sauce while still warm will cause large ice crystals to form which will ruin the texture and cause freezer burn.
Step 2: Portion and Pack
To freeze individual portions of cranberry sauce, pour it into an ice cube tray and place it into the freezer. Once fully frozen, pop the cubes out of the tray and place them in a resealable freezer bag. Press all the air out of the bag before sealing.
To freeze larger quantities, pour or scoop the desired portion sizes into resealable freezer bags. Carefully press out all the air before sealing the bag. Make sure to leave some headspace as the cranberry sauce may expand slightly on freezing.
Step 3: Label and Freeze
Label each bag with the date so you can keep track of how long the sauce has been frozen.
How To Thaw Frozen Cranberry Sauce
To defrost the cranberry sauce, remove the bag from the freezer and place it into the refrigerator to thaw slowly overnight. Once thawed, give it a stir to mix all the ingredients evenly.
Cranberry sauce ice cubes can be added straight to a smoothie without thawing.
Cranberry sauce is deliciously sweet, tart, and way too good to waste. Versatile for use in sweet and savory applications, it is the perfect condiment to have on hand to spruce up breakfast, lunch, tea, or dinner.
Freeze leftover cranberry sauce in individual portions for smoothies or larger portions for use in family meals or baking. Besides having a delicious sauce on hand at the drop of a hat, freezing cranberry sauce will save you time, money, and prevent food waste.
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