homemade cranberry sauce

My earliest memory of cranberry sauce is the canned red jelly that Mom always served alongside the roast turkey at Thanksgiving. I can still see that gelatinous can-shaped lump of cranberry sauce sliding out of the can — it’s no wonder that I was the only one who liked it. That is until Mom’s friend Louise shared her wonderful recipe for homemade cranberry sauce!

To make it, Louise combined 12 ounces of cranberries with 1 cup of sugar and a splash of orange juice in a pot, adding enough water to cover the berries. To that, she added a big slice of orange and a cinnamon stick. Then she simmered the mixture until the berries burst and the ingredients all melded together in a flavorful sauce. This takes about 20 to 30 minutes. The sauce thickens as it cools.

I love making homemade cranberry sauce this time of year, it reminds me of Louise and makes the house smell like fall. I use less sugar in my recipe and I leave out the cinnamon. The sauce will keep for about two weeks in the fridge and six months in the freezer, although I always check for mold or an “off” smell or color before using.

I enjoy it on roasted chicken and turkey and it’s delicious on grilled salmon, too.

There are many other delicious uses for cranberries throughout the holiday season and beyond. I like to add them to a cornbread mix for tasty cranberry muffins. I also add dried cranberries or “craisins” to salads and use them in cookies or crumbles.

We’re at the height of the cranberry harvest here in the Northeast. Harvested from mid-September to November, local, fresh cranberries are plentiful just in time for Thanksgiving, homemade cranberry sauce, and so many delicious recipes.

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.