My sister and I have this thing.
Well, to be honest, my sister and have about eight million things. We're like those twins that have their own language that no one else can understand ... but we're not twins. She's two years older than I, but we've always been best friends. (In fact, I told her recently, "You'd better never die because, if you do, there will be no one to understand me!")
So, anyway, one of our things is canned cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. My first "adult" Thanksgiving was when I was in graduate school. I was attending school in the South, too far away from my parents' home in New England for me to afford to make a quick trip home for the Thanksgiving holiday. And my sister was living not that far away, so we decided to throw our own little Thanksgiving dinner for two.
Even though I had almost no idea how to cook anything and she was only slightly more talented, we went all out in a little apartment kitchen: turkey, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce.
In all fairness, let's clarify. We roasted a turkey (poorly), steamed some green beans, mixed up a box of Stove Top stuffing and opened a can of jellied cranberry sauce.
But we were both in agreement that the cranberry sauce was a must-have. You know, because of the the "ssssllluuuupp" noise it makes when released from the can. And, frankly, because it's freakin' shaped like the can.
Fast forward a whole lotta years: You know I eschew packaged foods, especially on food blogging high holy days like Thanksgiving. My stuffing is 100 percent homemade. And it goes without saying that I've been making my own cranberry sauce on Thanksgiving for years now.
But last year, my sister and her family came to our house to celebrate "Fakesgiving." Since she and her family already had an annual family Thanksgiving they attended but we were living so close to us geographically for the first time in a long time, we had our own pre-Thanksgiving the weekend before the big day ... and started calling it "Fakesgiving."
For that Fakesgiving, I thought it would be hilarious to make my cranberry sauce in a can -- a little homage to that first Thanksgiving dinner we cooked. I cleaned out a can that had originally held some beans and used it as a mold. It worked perfectly! And we got the best of both worlds: no processed, nasty canned food product yet that satisfying "ssssllluuuupp" noise ... and it was in the freakin' shape of the can.
So now we have yet another thing, my sister and I.
Homemade "Canned" Cranberry Sauce(adapted from Bon Appetit)
Peel from one orange
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 packet unflavored gelatin (about 2 teaspoons)
Combine the orange peels, cranberries, water and sugar in a saucepan and simmer until the cranberries burst and the color turns a dark pink (about 10 minutes).
In a medium bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of cold water to soften (about 1 minute). Strain the cranberry mixture into the gelatin bowl, and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Pour the liquid into a cleaned 12-ounce can lightly coated with cooking spray. Cover and chill until set (about 8-9 hours).
To release the cranberry sauce, gently run a rubber spatula or butter knife around the edges of the can and invert it onto a plate. If the sauce does not slide out easily, use a can opener on the bottom to release the vacuum seal. Slice and serve.