It never ceases to delight me. Raw cranberries, from pink to bright garnet, cook into a luxurious ruby red cranberry beet sauce. Of course, they’d do that without the beet, but the beet adds natural sweetness, vitamin A, and fiber. So go for it.
This one is super easy: Start with a bag of cranberries. You may even want to stock up while they’re in season. They freeze well, and your version of Ruby Red Cranberry Beet Sauce may be just the thing for livening up sandwiches and desserts in the months to come. (For more ideas, see this post on cranberries.)
I always split the bag in half, so that I can have one batch of cooked sauce and one of raw relish. Eating-wise, I identify as a grazer. I prefer a couple of bites of a lot of different stuff to one big slab of anything.
Now, you can go ahead and dump the berries, some cooking liquid, grated beet, and the sugar into the pot at once. In the picture, you don’t see beet, because it ended up being a last minute burst of inspiration.
If you choose to add minced fruit, herbs and/or spices, add those now as well. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer for just 4-5 minutes. The cranberries audibly pop, which is sort of adorable. Don’t overcook! Mushy berries are gross.
And speaking of sugar, I recommend reverse engineering the sweetness factor. The classic proportion is 1 part sugar to 2 parts cranberries to half a part liquid. I prefer 1:4, and recommend that’s where you start—unless you really like your sugar. If you want to play it safe and do the 1:2 thing, next time, take it back a notch to 1:3. Eventually, you’ll hit on the right proportions for you. And just because you are adding a sweetener, you’re not undoing the benefits of the cranberries; the sauce will just be less nutritionally dense than the berry on its own. Save a handful of raw berries to throw in your smoothie, and you’ll be good to go.
If, on the other hand, you boldly go ahead with the 1:4 proportion and the sauce isn’t sweet enough, don’t add granulated sugar to the finished product; the crystals won’t dissolve. Instead, pour in a little maple syrup or agave, or even add a drop of Stevia until you get where you need to be.
Ruby Red Cranberry Beet Sauce can be made up to 5 days ahead. Leftovers can be frozen. Use instead of jam on your morning toast or for a completely amazing cream cheese or nut butter sandwich.