Handcrafted and Canned Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is a simple thing to make, so simple it is sadness to buy it in a can. And the worst part about canned cranberry sauce is the one dominant brand in the US is a horrid product. It is syrupy sweet, for a reason, it is heavy on the corn syrup: Cranberries, high fructose corn syrup, water, corn syrup. Keep it simple, and canning a batch for the year only takes an extra 30 minutes to an hour over just making the sauce. Do it now, and come all the holidays, no extra cooking! And on a side note, this is the time of year when finding fresh cranberries is at its prime. Do yourself a favor, look for local brands, if they grow regionally, and not just a certain brand. The berries are often fresher and tastier!


I adapted this recipe from We Sure Can!: How Jams and Pickles Are Reviving the Lure and Lore of Local Food, on page 180. I doubled the recipe in the book, since it didn’t take any longer. If I am going to can, I make sure I have enough in the pantry for the year ­čśë


Easy-Peasy Cranberry Sauce


  • 2 pounds fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 2 4″ cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cups granulated sugar


Fill a canning pot halfway with water, add in canning jars, bring to a boil covered.

In a stockpot (stainless steel or non-stick) add the cranberries, water and cinnamon sticks. Bring the berries to boiling over hight heat, periodically mashing the cranberries with a potato masher to help break up.

Once boiling, stir in sugar (be careful as this is hot). Bring back to a full rolling boil, that you cannot stir down, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the sauce starts to set (it will be thickened if you spoon up). Stir constantly as it cooks.

Take off the heat, remove and discard the cinnamon sticks.

Drain the jars, place on a clean kitchen towel.

Sterilize a canning funnel and a ladle, stir the sauce again and ladle hot sauce into the jars, leaving a ┬╝ÔÇŁ headspace. Wipe the jar rims with a new paper towel, dampened with hot water.

Place a new canning lid on each jar, screw on bands until finger tip tight.

Place jars into canning rack, lower into the water, place cover on. Bring back to a boil, process for 10 minutes for small jars, 15 if doing pint jars, starting timing once water boils. Turn off heat, take off lid, and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove jars, place on a cooling rack covered with a kitchen towel. Let cool, listening for the pings of the lids. Once cool, check the lids by pressing gently in the middle. If any spring back, put in refrigerator and use within a week.

Made about 10 6-ounce jars, for 60 ounces total. Store in a cool, dry area for up to a year.

The Best Cranberry Sauce Evah…….

Yeah, I know. It takes a lot to┬ádeclare┬ásomething “Best Evah”. ‘Cause usually it isn’t. I try to not shout this too often for that reason, but yeah, this cranberry sauce will slap you in┬áthe┬áface and demand to be┬áeaten. Not to be ignored and found moldy in the frig on the second week of January…..this you will want a big serving of, even better spread on sammies later…if you have leftovers that is.


And the best part? It is made from Dried Cranberries. I┬áhave┬áhad an issue┬áwith a certain large company for many years, and out of spite I refuse to buy their products (see below for why, if you want to read my blowhard ramblings…..). This makes it very hard to find fresh or frozen cranberries that are not by them, they own the market frankly. And if by chance I do find another brand they are often twice┬áthe┬áprice. Ack.

Better is not having to pay $2.50 for a 12 ounce bag of fresh berries that smell slightly alcoholic, because they are starting to ferment, and then having toss part of the bag.


The berries stay together as well, unlike when making traditional sauce, where they fall apart. I kept thinking how awesome this sauce would have been over a bowl of vanilla ice cream….Happy Holidays everyone, and enjoy your Tuesday Dinner!

Dried Cranberry Maple Sauce


  • 1┬Ż cups Dried Cranberries
  • ┬ż cup orange┬ájuice, preferably with pulp
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • ┬╝ tsp dried orange peel
  • ┬╝ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ┬╝ tsp fine sea salt
  • ┬╝ cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder


Add the cranberries, orange juice, maple syrup, orange peel, cinnamon and salt to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium until simmering. Simmer gently for 5 or so minutes, until the cranberries are soft.

Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch into the remaining orange juice. Add to the cranberries, whisking in, till thickened.

Remove from heat, chill until cold.

Serves 4 large portions or 6 to 8 small ones.

~ Sarah

So what is my beef with said cranberry mega-company?

Years ago, when I was first starting out developing recipes for my outdoor website, TrailCooking, I made┬áthe┬ámistake of leaving off one┬á┬ę or┬á┬« symbol after using the brand name of a certain dried cranberry product, although every time I had┬áreferenced┬ásaid product there was always a hyper-link to the company’s webpage, as well as using the symbols on┬áthe┬árest. One time I forgot to add it to a recipe. I got the nastiest email from a house lawyer threatening me and my website.

It was overkill. A simple “Hey, we noticed you like our products and use them a lot but you forgot to add a┬ácopyright┬ásymbol on one of your recipes, can you fix it?” would have gotten them immediate action. Instead they used heavy-handed cease and desist tactics. I was┬ádumbstruck. And┬áseverely┬ápeeved. So I removed every┬áreference┬áto┬áthe┬ácompany then and there. No more links to their┬ácompany, and when I was using dried┬ácranberries in a recipe I never, ever used┬áthe┬ácommercially successful trademarked name that most Americans associate with dried┬ácranberries after that.

The thing about it is that over the years I have┬árecommended┬ámany companies products because I liked them┬á, on my blogs and websites. And a number of times I have had those companies contact me and thank me for using/liking their products. Many have added my recipes to their websites even or shared my recipes. Pretty cool, really! But out of all of this only one company has ever complained. One. And yes, it was a┬ácertain┬ácranberry overlord o_O All because out of 50 or more┬áreferences, I simply forgot to add a copyright symbol to one of them. Sheesh. To┬ácompanies┬áout there – this wasn’t the way to┬áapproach┬áa life-long customer!

Holidays 2011: Jelled Cranberry Maple Sauce

A holiday recipe that slipped through the blogging crack…..

The sauce needs to sit overnight to have time for the maple and the sour cranberries to meld together. After I had made the sauce I wasn’t sure about the sweetness, it had a bitter touch but once we sat down to eat dinner it was perfect tasting.

Jelled Cranberry Maple Sauce


  • 12 ounce bag cranberries, frozen or fresh
  • ┬ż cup pure maple syrup
  • ┬Ż cup orange juice
  • ┬Ż cup water


Add everything to a tall saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.When the mixture comes to a boil, cover tightly and turn down to medium-low. Let boil gently for 15 minutes, stirring as needed.

Take off the heat and press the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.

Chill overnight before serving.

Serves 8 as a side dish.


Jellied Orange Spiced Cranberry Sauce

I play around every year with the cranberry sauce but overall I have found I simply prefer a jellied version over whole berry. And honestly cranberry sauce is one of those foods that you should play around with it – it is pretty hard to ruin it. This is a large double batch but still it isn’t that much once you remove the pulp. You do have plenty leftover for tasty sammies though!

Jellied Orange Spiced Cranberry Sauce


  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 12-ounce packages fresh cranberries


Rinse the cranberries under cold water and shake dry.

In a tall saucepan bring the orange juice, sugar and cinnamon to a boil over high, add in the cranberries and let return to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and let gently boil for 10 minutes, turning down the heat to medium-low as needed, stirring often.

Take off the heat and press through a wire mesh strainer with a wooden spoon or spatula, discarding the pulp when no more comes out.

Let cool down on the counter, uncovered. Store tightly sealed in the refrigerator and serve cold.


Orange Cranberry Sauce

I tried a different concept this year for our cranberry sauce and for the most part am happy with it. I like to make it the night before so it is well chilled/set up.

Orange Cranberry Sauce


1/2 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup orange juice

1 1/2 Tbsp honey

1/8 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

12-ounces fresh cranberries (1 package)


In a heavy saucepan combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for about 12 minutes, stirring often.

Remove from the heat and press through a fine mesh sieve till all that is left is the cranberry peels. Refrigerate till needed. The sauce will be thick immediately.


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