Cranberries or what to do with a Bounce Berry

There are two distinct schools of cranberry sauce preference. The “only the fresh berries will do for anything that touches my turkey” enthusiasts and the “if it isn’t jelled and sliding out of the can it just isn’t cranberry sauce” crowd. I guess I sort of straddle the fence on which one I prefer, I think they’re both good. I grew up slicing the stuff from the can and it’s kind of my guilty pleasure on my Thanksgiving Day food fest. However, for the past few years ever since I had my friend Connie’s made “from scratch with fresh orange juice” stuff I’ve been gravitating towards the make my own kind. Sadly, I’m a torn between two loves.

For anyone preparing to embark on the cranberry sauce making journey you should know that your basic cranberry sauce recipes contains only three ingredients: cranberries, water and a sugar/sweetener of some kind. The fun begins when you add your own personality to the recipe by tweaking and adding to the one or more of the 3 ingredients.  You can replace water with orange or pineapple juice and or substitute brown sugar or maple syrup for the sugar, well you get the picture.

            You don’t need a doctorate in fruit-ology to pick out good fresh cranberries. They typically come in a 12 oz to 1 lb. bag, be firm to the touch, should be bright to dark red, shiny and plump. They’re high in vitamin C and fiber and are especially high in antioxidants. You can store your fresh cranberries in your refrigerator for up to two months or freeze them for up to a year. Approx. 12 oz. of fresh cranberries will net you about 3 cups of whole cranberries or 2 1/3 to 2 1/2 cups chopped cranberries.

The following recipes are a nice cross section between sweet and savory salsa, sauces and relishes. Feel free to alter the amount of sugar or hot to any of the recipes as they’re all very forgiving.


1 tablespoon oil
1 red onion, cut into thin rings

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 to 4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar

salt and pepper

1/2 cup water

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions to the hot oil stir for a minute then add the vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to a simmer temperature, cover the onions and let them cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden and very soft, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the lid, increase the heat and cook the onions, stirring for 2 or 3 more minutes. Add the cranberries, remaining sugar, a pinch more salt and the water. Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 3 or 4 more minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat, cover and let cool to room temperature. Serve either room temperature or warm. Makes approx. 3 cups.

3 cups fresh cranberries
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup apple juice
1 pear, chopped fine
1 Granny Smith apple, chopped fine
zest of 1 orange or lemon

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger

In a saucepan combine the cranberries and apple juice and cook until the cranberries split open. Mash the berries lightly. Add the chopped pear, apple and orange rind and cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly. Add the brown sugar and honey. Simmer, stirring often, until the fruit is soft about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Mix to combine. Remove the relish from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Makes 4 cups.

Modified from a recipe submitted by Connie Kadish Teneck NJ


One of the best cranberry sauces I have ever eaten

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup orange juice

zest of one orange

2 tablespoons orange liqueur

1/2 teaspoon ginger

4 cups cranberries

1 cup toasted pecans

In a sauce pot combine the orange liqueur, orange juice, orange zest, sugar and ginger. Heat over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries to the mixture and cook them, stirring occasionally until they start to pop (5 to 7 minutes). Remover the sauce from the heat and let cool slightly, add the pecans and mix to combine. Let cool and serve. This sauce can be served either hot or cold. Makes 3 to 4 cups.


3 to 4 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of water
2 large cans of mandarin oranges (save the juice from one can)
zest of one orange
zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

In a sauce pan combine the water, juice from can of mandarin oranges, and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil and then add the cranberries. Lower to simmer and cook until the cranberries start to pop open. Stir occasionally. When the mixture starts to thicken add the lemon and orange zest, and cinnamon. Mix to combine.  Cook on low for 20 to 25 minutes, stir occasionally to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick, it will thicken as it cooks the sauce from the heat and let cool. When the mixture is at room temperature add the mandarin oranges, mix to combine, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes approx 3 cups.


2 (8-ounce) cans crushed pineapple, drained
1 (16-ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 green or yellow pepper, chopped fine
3 green onions, chopped

1 or 2 drops hot sauce (optional)

In a sauce pan combine the pineapple, cranberry sauce, brown sugar, ginger. Mix to combine. Heat to a simmer and add the crushed pineapple. Mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the mixture to a simmer. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Remove the mixture from the heat add the chopped pepper and green onions (and hot sauce if you like). Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Makes 4 cups.

Submitted by Candice Martaron Oak Park MI


2 cups fresh cranberries
3 granny smith apples, cored and cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks
1 medium red onion, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons minced parsley
zest of 1 lime

1 to 2 drops hot sauce (optional)

In the bowl of a food processor combine the cranberries, apples, red pepper and onion. Process just until everything is chunky but not too mushy (the texture is your own personal preference). Place the cranberry mixture into a bowl and add the brown sugar, apple juice, parsley, lime and hot sauce if using. Mix to combine. Makes 5 cups.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Guess Who?
    Nov 01, 2010 @ 20:30:38

    thanks for the shout out!
    lime zest is also really good with oj as the liquid.


  2. Guess Who?
    Nov 01, 2010 @ 20:31:31

    I also like to add a handful or two of chopped cranberries to the apples in apple pie.


  3. Trackback: Everyday Southwest » Celebrate Feliz Navidad with our Five-Igredient Cran-a-Peño Sauce Recipe (aka Southwest Cranberry Sauce Recipe!)

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