Homemade Cranberry Sauce

There are certain foods most of us don’t think much about all year long, and then for one or two holidays, we can’t live without them.  Cranberry sauce is exactly that type of food.  I don’t believe I ever eat it from January through October, but then I can’t imagine my turkey without it.  And leftover cranberry sauce brightens up so many of those Thanksgiving leftovers, it becomes a critical condiment for the days after the big dinner.

Cranberry Sauce

This sauce is very traditional and classic.  It uses fresh cranberries, which are seasoning available in supermarkets in the produce section.  You can usually start to find fresh cranberries mid-October, and sometimes groceries have frozen cranberries year-round.  If you are a cranberry fan, and use them in quick breads and other recipes throughout the year, then you might want to buy some fresh and freeze them yourself.

Making Cranberry Sauce Ahead of Time

If you are planning to make it ahead of the Thanksgiving meal, you’ll get the freshest sauce if you make it within a week of serving, and store it covered in the fridge.  But in terms of how long cranberry sauce will keep, you can definitely hold it for about two weeks in the fridge, and it will still be delicious and fine to eat.  

Cranberry Sauce

Freezing Cranberry Sauce

You can freeze cranberry sauce in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Cranberry Sauce Add-Ins

As you can see, citrus like lemon and orange go very well with cranberries, even though they are sweet-tart fruits themselves.  Instead of the zest you might add a cinnamon stick to the mixture as it simmers for a warmer holiday flavor.  Adjust the sugar to your liking – cranberries are very tart, so they definitely need sugar to balance that out, but if you prefer your sauce on the tart side, you might use ½ or ¾ cup sugar per pound of cranberries.  

Cranberry Sauce

You could also try using port wine instead of the water and for a deeper, slightly boozier flavor.

Cranberry Sauce: Bright and sweet-tart, cranberry sauce is a must-have for Thanksgiving, but also a must-have to brighten up those Thanksgiving leftovers!

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How to Make Cranberry Sauce

Rinse the cranberries in a strainer, and make sure to pick out any little stems or shriveled or bruised berries.  

In a large saucepan combine the water and the sugar.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.  

Add the cranberries and return to a simmer.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries have burst, about 15 minutes.  

Cranberry Sauce

Add the orange juice and zest, lemon zest and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes.

Cranberry Sauce

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.  

What to Serve with Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

Other Cranberry Recipes:

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Cranberry Sauce

Bright and sweet-tart, cranberry sauce is a must-have for Thanksgiving (and you can make it up to 2 weeks ahead)!
Yield: 12 People
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 pound (about 4 cups) fresh cranberries
  • Juice and finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Directions

  • Rinse the cranberries in a strainer, and make sure to pick out any little stems or shriveled or bruised berries.
  • In a large saucepan combine the water and the sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the cranberries and return to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries have burst, about 15 minutes. Add the orange juice and zest, lemon zest and simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. You can store in in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freeze it in an airtight container for up to 6 months. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 85kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 48mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 37IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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Posted Oct 29, 2021

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