How to Make Real Cranberry Sauce

1. Mix equal parts raw cranberries and the darkest maple syrup you can find in a large, thick-bottom pot.

Maple syrup grades - use grade B (far right) for cranberry sauce.

Maple syrup grades – fancy, traditionally considered the best, is on the left. As the maple syrup season progresses, more and more organic compounds get into the syrup, resulting in more intense maple flavor very suitable for cooking. Use grade B (far right) for cranberry sauce. Image from Wikipedia.

2. Heat on low-medium just until cranberries burst. You may need to stab some of the holdouts. Do not continue heating past this point.

3, Refrigerate.

4. Place on top of turkey, with brown gravy, on Thanksgiving. Use in sandwich with turkey, stuffing, and gravy the next several days.

There we go: easier than eating a pop-tart.

This recipe can be modified accordingly to make mushier (heat longer), dryer or sweeter (vary the amount of maple syrup) or flavor-infused, foofoo versions (i.e. add rosemary or orange peel).

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10 thoughts on “How to Make Real Cranberry Sauce

  1. I just have to say, as a native New Englander, this is not how my family has ever prepared cranberries, even maple producers who sweeten everything they can with maple syrup. I’ve done this, and I didn’t like the results, neither did my family.

    So while it may be one of the methods real New Englander’s use to prepare cranberry sauce, if you want to try this for Thanksgiving, please test it out first, or have some canned jelly in reserve if it’s essential to your family dinner traditions.

    (And I’m really sorry if I’ve rained on your parade, Christopher, that’s not my intent. But I did exactly this a few years ago, and made a lot of people very unhappy in the process; I just thought people should know that.)

    /and now I feel just awful.


  2. This is not a’s a “salad”. And I think it’s the best damn thing around:

    Cranberry Salad:
    1 cup fresh orange sections
    4 1/4 oz orange juice
    1 cup sugar
    4 cups raw cranberries
    1 cup unpeeled granny smith (or other tart apple)
    1/2 cup raisins or currants
    1/4 cup chopped walnuts
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger….finely chopped.

    Combine all and bring to boil for 5 minutes. Let cool, put in a glass container, and when cool enough, refrigerate. Keeps a month. Eat cold or at room temp.


  3. I think cranberry sauce is like mayonaisse: some people insist homemade is better, but, really, the big companies have figured it out.

    Just get out your can opener and enjoy what Ocean Spray has to offer.


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