Boiling it for 10 minutes is key.
Key Steps in the Cooking Process
It’s all about releasing the pectin from the berries.
1. Bring to a boil: Make sure to begin by boiling the sauce for at least 10 minutes. Boiling the cranberries releases the pectin from them. If you simply simmer the recipe or cook it over medium-heat you won’t release enough pectin to combine with the sugar which is what gives the sauce it’s gel-like texture.
2- Cooling time: Make sure you allow the sauce to cool to room temperature afterwards before chilling it. Chilling it too fast may reduce sauce thickness. Once cooled you then chill it for a couple of hours for the thickness to ‘set’ properly.
3- Optional Gelatin pack: If you really like it thick and after going through the first step above it’s not gelled to your satisfaction then add 1 envelope of unflavored gelatin and boil for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently, then reduce to medium heat for 5 more. The gelatin will make it thicker and the additional cooking time will too. Which brings us to the next tip.
4- Increase simmering time so that the liquid evaporates. Keep it on low for as long as you wish, monitoring the texture. This will evaporate the liquid and thicken the sauce further.
– To ensure sauce thickness the full amount of sugar in a cranberry sauce recipe is needed as it coagulates with the pectin. Some people prefer less sugar or to use sweetener in their recipes – which can still result in thick sauces – but the full sugar amount is preferred if you want to ensure a heavier, firm sauce.
– What is Pectin?
Pectin is simply a type of fiber. Fiber is found in all plant foods but pectin is primarily found in fruit, especially citrus. It’s used to thicken jams and fruit sauces like our cranberry sauce above.