DIY Cranberry Sauce

cranberry sauce

This year I have been asked to make Thanksgiving, which I have never done before on my own.  Naturally this has led to a great deal of cooking via project management (see also: Project: Christmas Cookies — which clearly explains why I didn’t get a lot of dates in high school).  I’ll document the insanity I have resorted to for Thanksgiving planning in another post.

But part of that planning was that I was not going to make my own cranberry sauce.  “The can is fine!” I said.  “Don’t obsess about making everything from scratch!”  Yeah right.  Next thing I knew I’d gone to the grocery store and had a black out moment and come home with a giant bag of cranberries.  Then I read you can make cranberry sauce a week ahead.  OH FINE, I’ll just make it.


I read a number of recipes and debated if I wanted to use orange juice with it, if I wanted to use spices, etc.  I like the classic taste of tart, sweet cranberry sauce.  But I also had a large ginger root already and thought a little fresh ginger would be great.  I also knew that I like a chunky sauce (not jellied) but not with whole berries.

I eat way too many dried cranberries on a regular basis and somehow now have strong opinions about cranberries…

chopped cranberries

My recipe is a modified version of Orange and Ginger Spiced Cranberry Sauce, cooked with orange juice but without the orange zest. I knew from making applesauce in the past that I didn’t like too overwhelming of citrus.  I also kept the spices a bit low, since I wasn’t sure what I thought about spiced cranberry sauce.

grated ginger
I have a love/hate relationship with my ginger grater.

The result is excellent!  It’s quite tart, very sweet, and with just hint of the spices to make it a little more interesting.  I really like it a lot.  I’m looking forward to seeing if my Thanksgiving guests are on board for some non-canned cranberry sauce.

DIY Cranberry Sauce

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves

Wash cranberries.  If you want a chunky sauce, but not whole berries, chop up cranberries with a food processor (or with a knife and patience).  You can also cook with whole berries.  They will burst as they cook.

Combine all ingredients in a pan and cook for 20 minutes.  Hold at a low simmer.  It should be a nice thick texture when done.

Cool before serving and can be made a few days ahead.

cranberry sauce

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