A healthy, homemade, sugar-free cranberry sauce
Cranberries are amazing little berries, packed with beneficial polyphenols. Traditionally cranberries have been used to reduce the risk of bladder infections, which makes them a perfect addition to the Christmas season; high sugar, alcohol, caffeine, minimal water and stress (i.e. Christmas in a nutshell) all put pressure on the urinary system.
Cranberries are by nature very sour, so commercial cranberry juices, and jars of cranberry sauce are packed with sugar to mask their astringent taste. There’s so much other sugar around at Christmas that it’s worth cutting it where you can – a tablespoon of bought cranberry sauce easily can contain a couple of teaspoons of sugar.
Making your own cranberry sauce is really simple and allows us to maximise the benefits from the cranberries. We use xylitol as a sweetener instead of sugar; xylitol isn’t suitable for those following a low FODMAP diet, but it does have some benefits including helping to protect against tooth decay. We feel that a tablespoon of this fresh cranberry sauce containing xylitol is much better for most of us than a tablespoon of sugar-sweetened cranberry sauce.
Ingredients: 1 packet of fresh cranberries (300g), juice of one orange plus water to make 200mls liquid, ½ cup xylitol, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 star anise
To make: add all ingredients to a pan, bring to the boil slowly to dissolve the xylitol, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the star anise and cinnamon and serve warm or store in the fridge for up to a week. This also freezes well so can be made in advance and frozen in small batches.
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