Homemade Cranberry Sauce – 4 Variations

Homemade Cranberry Sauce - starting from upper left going clockwise, whole, jelled, orange, and apple
Homemade Cranberry Sauce – starting from upper left going clockwise, whole, jelled, orange, and apple

So, as some of you may remember from last year’s Turkey, Turkey Stock, and Turkey Rice Soup with Kale – Denise’s Annual Insanity, or if you know me in real life, I tend to be a lunatic about Thanksgiving. I make food in quantities and amounts that bear no rational relation to the number of people coming, and I go overboard about everything. One of those things is cranberry sauce. When I was growing up, my grandmother owned (still owns, actually) a farm which had a small lake and there were some cranberries growing in one end of it. She always made several kinds of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving. Now the cranberry bog has been taken over by brush, but I still make multiple cranberry sauces every year. Also, it’s one of those things that looks really hard, but is a piece o’cake (if you’re not a crazed lunatic who is making 40 million other side dishes as well). I usually do the cranberry sauce a couple of days ahead, because you can, and because it needs to cool. If you want some cranberries on hand year round, buy a few bags and throw them in the freezer as is, and just use them frozen, i.e. don’t thaw them out first.

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 – 12 ounce bag of cranberries

Wash the cranberries and pick out the soft, crushed and/or bad ones. Put the water and sugar in an nonreactive sauce pan and bring it to a boil over high heat.

Cranberries in Sugar and Water
Cranberries in Sugar and Water

Once the water and sugar is boiling, add the cranberries and let it come back to a boil.  Reduce to the heat to medium and boil gently for 10 minutes.  Pour into a heat safe bowl and let cool in the fridge.

Jelled Cranberry Sauce

Jelled Cranberry Sauce
Jelled Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 – 12 ounce bag of cranberries

Do everything for the Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce above, except when you’ve finished boiling it gently for the 10 minutes, place a wire mesh strainer over a bowl, pour the sauce into the strainer, and use a spatula to press the sauce through it into the bowl, leaving the seeds and skin behind in the strainer.

Using Strainer to remove seeds and skin
Using Strainer to remove seeds and skin

Make sure you get as much of the sauce as you can through the strainer until there’s nothing left but seeds and skin. Frankly, I almost never make this because I don’t care, and not eating the skins and seeds seems like a colossal waste, but to each their own. 

Apple Cranberry Sauce

Apple Cranberry Sauce
Apple Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 – 12 ounce bag of cranberries
  • 1 peeled, cored and chopped apple

Follow the directions for the Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce above, but just adding the apple at the same time as the cranberries.

Orange Cranberry Sauce 

Orange Cranberry Sauce
Orange Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 – 12 ounce bag of cranberries
  • 1 orange, zested, and then peeled and sectioned

Wash and scrub your orange. Zest your orange, either with a micro-planer or use a vegetable peeler to take off very, very thin strips.  Make sure there is NO white pith at all, as it will cause the sauce to be bitter.  Peel your orange and then remove the outer skin from each of the sections.

Zest and Sectioned Orange Pieces
Zest and Sectioned Orange Pieces

Follow the directions for the Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce above, but just adding the orange at the same time as the cranberries. 

Enjoy!

    5 comments

    1. We’re planning to make apple-cranberry sauce to go on top of root-vegetable latkes as a nod to Thanksgivukkah. Your version looks tasty and simple. 🙂

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