Why You Should Start Adding Figs To Your Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving is only a couple months away, and you may already be dreaming of creamy mashed potatoes (drowned in gravy, of course), herby stuffing, and the always-underrated green bean casserole. The side dishes are what truly bring together a Thanksgiving feast, and a fantastic cranberry sauce is no exception.

There is a nationwide debate over whether serving canned or fresh sauce is superior. According to an Axios poll, "Fresh cranberry sauce has a slight edge, winning 26 states to canned cranberries' 24 states." While there is no shame in serving up the canned stuff, we believe homemade cranberry sauce is hard to beat. After all, this simple dish can be thrown together with just a few ingredients, is done in under an hour, and can be made-ahead to make meal planning simple. 

However, balancing the sharp, tart taste of the cranberries with added sweetness and subtle savoriness can be tricky, which is why many cooks have turned to a secret ingredient that adds both a pleasing texture and a touch of sweetness.

Introduce figs to this holiday favorite

Ripe figs have sticky liquid that oozes out, and the taste is very sweet, often compared to the flavor of honey, with a fresh, berry-like flavor (via NPR).

There are many varieties of figs, but one of the best ones to cook with are mission figs. NPR writes, "The velvety, edible skin of the mission fig is a deep purple color ... The flesh is dark pink with a hint of dusty brown. Its intensely jammy flavor is balanced by soft, fruity acidity, preventing the sweetness from turning to pure candy." 

Many cranberry sauce recipes include this fig, but dried. In the Kitchn's recipe, they outline three easy steps that — in under 40 minutes — will change your sauce recipe forever. Adding chopped dried figs will add a unique texture and perfect sweetness to the dish. Try this method out to transform your traditional side dish into a show-stopping holiday staple.

Bon Appétit is also a fan of adding figs to cranberry sauce, telling readers, "Figs bring a touch of sweetness to this bright, chutney-ish cranberry sauce and nicely offset the sharpness of the vinegar."