Cranberry Sauce and What To Do With Your Christmas Leftovers
Making your own cranberry sauce is so easy and far more delicious than any I’ve ever bought. Unless you’re making a large batch for festive gifts, you’ll find you don’t need all of the fresh cranberries in a normal pack. In this post, I give you a lovely recipe for cranberry sauce, of course, made with orange and a dash of port. I’ve also got a few hints and tips on what to do with any remaining cranberries as well as other vegetarian Christmas leftovers. Love Food Hate Waste.
Christmas is a time of abundance. Most of us over stock on food and cook too much. We don’t want to run out or have anyone go hungry after all, and you just never know who might drop in unexpectedly. Luckily, the freezer is your friend and can help out with any leftovers.
In the UK alone, we throw away over seven million tonnes of food and drink each year, it’s really quite shocking. Apart from the ethics involved, I have a thrifty streak and really hate throwing any food away; it really is such a waste. I’ve teamed up with the Love Food Hate Waste campaign to offer a few tips on how to love your freezer and use it to deal with any leftovers from your Christmas meal.
Even though I’m vegetarian, I’m very partial to some cranberry sauce to accompany my nut roast on the big day. I make my own every year with fresh cranberries. It’s so quick and easy and has the added bonus of being able to control the amount of sugar that goes into it. I like mine to be tart, but not overly so. I also like to keep it simple so the cranberry flavour shines through. No spices needed, but I always use an orange. This compliments the cranberries well. A dash of port is optional, but hey, it is Christmas and it does give it a bit of extra pizazz. You’ll find the recipe at the bottom of the post.
In my experience fresh cranberries come in rather large bags – anything from 250g to 350g. I don’t mind this as cranberries freeze exceedingly well and should be good to use for up to a year. All you need to do, is place the fruit in a single layer on a tray. Make sure it’s one that will fit in your freezer; I use a small baking sheet. Place the tray in the freezer for about an hour, then tip all of the berries into a freezer bag or freezer proof tub, date and label then pop them back in.
Frozen this way, you can take out as many or as few cranberries as you like. You can use them to make more cranberry sauce in the new year if you wish, but there’s so much more you can do with them. Most recipes using fresh cranberries will work well with frozen too. You can use them to add colour and flavour to smoothies and other drinks. This vegan cranberry, walnut and apple smoothie from A Virtual Vegan sounds rather lush as does this cranberry mojito from Sandhya’s Kitchen. Here’s a Brussels sprout and cranberry pasta bake from Foodie Quine which has the added bonus of using up any leftover sprouts you have lurking in the fridge.
For something sweet you could try my chilli cardamom cranberry upside down cake. Alternatively, use half the quantities to make mini versions in silicone muffin moulds or tins. This cranberry tart with pecan pastry from Jen’s Food is one I have my eye on. For a decadent weekend breakfast, these crispy cranberry buttermilk pancakes form Rhubararians look rather scrumptious.
Frozen Stock Cubes
At the end of the Christmas meal, there is inevitably a load of leftovers. My mother always makes soup with them, but I prefer to make rich and flavoursome stock cubes that will last a bit longer. It’s very easy. Gather together any leftover gravy, wine, bread sauce and vegetables, although you might want to leave out the brussels sprouts and cabbage. Blitz everything in a blender. If it’s too thick add a little water. Spoon or pour into ice cube trays and freeze. You may need to do these a few at a time, depending on how much stock you have and how many ice cube trays. Once frozen, remove the stock cubes from the trays and place in a bag.
Freeze until needed or for up to 6 months. Add one or two stock cubes to soups, stews, pies, risottos and sauces for additional flavour. What a great way to keep the memory of Christmas alive for months to come.
Call me old fashioned, but nut roast is my favourite main for Christmas dinner. I usually make something similar to this lentil & Brazil nut roast or Thinly Spread’s chestnut and cashew nut roast. It’s quite large, but you can bet your bottom dollar, that if I make a smaller one even the meat eaters will want some. I’m happy to take the risk, because actually I like leftover nut roast. I tend to have a slice for Boxing Day, then freeze the rest for quick and easy meals when I don’t have time to cook.
Just slice the nut roast into suitable sized portions and freeze. This can be done in two ways:
- Lay the nut roast slices on a baking sheet and freeze for a couple of hours. Put the slices in a freezer bag and freeze until needed.
- Using a suitable sized freezer container, lay slices on top of each other with a piece of greaseproof paper in between each one. Cover and freeze until needed.
Alternatively, you could make individual nut roasts like these cute porcini and chestnut mini wreath roasts from The Veg Space or these mini bundt chestnut roasts from Veggie Desserts. You can then freeze any you don’t need on the actual day. The nut roasts will keep for up to three months in the freezer. When ready to eat, pop in the oven or microwave to heat up.
- 150g fresh cranberries (although you can substitute frozen) - washed and drained
- 60g golden caster sugar
- 1 organic orange
- 1 tbsp port
- Pour the cranberries and sugar into a medium sized saucepan and place over a medium heat.
- Finely grate in the orange rind, then squeeze in the juice.
- Allow to simmer for 5-8 minutes or until all the berries have burst. Stir occasionally.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the port.
- Spoon into a sterilised jar. Cover and leave to cool.
- Will keep in the fridge for a good two weeks.
I’m sending my cranberry sauce recipe and leftover tips to Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary for the No Waste Food Challenge.
Post commissioned by Love Food Hate Waste. I was not expected to write a positive review and all opinions are, as always, my own. Thanks to my readers for supporting the brands and organisations that help to keep Tin and Thyme blythe and blogging.