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Thoughts from an Epicure: Homemade sauces for the holidays


While growing up, any holiday meant plenty of food, whether at a friend’s, at one of my aunts’, or at our home.

Everyone brought something they’d made and most everyone liked. I remember many of the dishes. Some of them I’ve learned to prepare and some I’ve chosen not to make. One of the latter was a green Jell-o salad with fruit cocktail. Although I liked it then, I don’t make it now. In fact, I haven’t seen it in years.

A couple of dishes I remember fondly and make are applesauce and cranberry sauce. Both are available in our local supermarkets in cans or jars. But both of these sauces are much better when home-made. They take a little time to prepare, yet are well worth your effort and time.

When I want to make applesauce, I watch for apples that have been discounted and choose a few. After washing them, I cut them in quarters, core them, and cut the quarters in half cross-wise. Then, they go into a saucepan with enough water to half cover them. I simmer them until tender, drain, and mash them with a potato masher, skins included. If needed, I add a little bit of sugar. This is good either cold or warm. A touch of cinnamon helps “sweeten” tart apples.

Cranberry sauce is just as simple. Wash and pick over 3 or 4 cups of fresh cranberries. Put them in a saucepan with 2 cups of cold water. Gently simmer for 8 to 10 minutes uncovered. Don’t stir until the berries have broken down, then stir in sugar to your taste, either sweet or tart. About 1 teaspoon of grated orange rind adds a nice touch. Pour the sauce into a mold or bowl until cool. Serve chilled.

Enjoy the holiday bustle and stay safe! If you have suggestions or questions for this column, please contact me directly at