Citrus Will Add A Whole New Element To Your Canned Cranberry Sauce

Store-bought canned cranberry sauce is a modern-day miracle, saving us the effort of making it from scratch while still delivering a tart, sweet sauce to brighten Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. While it's a perfectly delicious product straight from the can, it only takes a single ingredient to elevate cranberry sauce to gourmet heights: citrus.

Citrus and cranberry have long been a popular duo — you've probably delighted in cranberry orange muffins or sipped a bright pink Cosmopolitan cocktail. The pair works so well together because citrus lightens and brightens the velvety richness of cranberries.

Canned cranberry sauce offers a balance of sweet and tart with a distinct berry flavor, and adding citrus infuses the cranberry flavor with a bitter, crisp finish. Citrus and cranberries are both fall and winter fruits, so you'll get the freshest specimens of your favorite citrus, whether it's lemon, orange, or grapefruit, for your holiday table. You can also use every part of the fruit, from zest to juice to whole slices. Plus, the color contrast between crimson cranberries and the bright yellow, orange, and green citrus hues make for a stunning presentation.

How to add citrus to your canned cranberry sauce

How you add citrus to your canned cranberry sauce depends on which type you buy. If you like whole berry cranberry sauce, the best way to infuse it with citrus flavor is by zesting lemon, lime, or orange peel into it as it heats on the stove. The oils from the zest add flavor and bitterness without adding volume, acidity, or sweetness. You can stir in juice for a more subtle citrus flavor, which can also help to loosen overly thick sauce. Grapefruit juice is a good option if you want more of a bitter finish.

Jellied cranberry sauce is a little trickier to infuse because it's solid, but its Jello-like consistency will absorb a hearty dose of citrus juice. You could reduce jellied cranberry sauce with orange juice on the stove or layer rounds of it with slices of grapefruit or tangerine. This looks beautiful on a tray and gives you a fantastic texture contrast.

If you want to wow dinner guests, candied citrus peel is a delicious option for both jellied and whole berry cranberry sauce. You can chop it up and stir it into whole cranberry sauce or place ribbons of the candied peel on top of jellied cranberry rounds.