6 Stunning and Nourishing Cranberry Sauces

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6 Stunning and Nourishing Cranberry Sauces | GNOWFGLINS.com

There’s cranberry sauce — and then there’s Cranberry Sauce.

For many of us, the memory of the firm, jellied cranberry sauce that delightfully schlopped out of the can on Thanksgiving sets the stage for what is considered “real” cranberry sauce. But what a far cry from “real” it is….

It wasn’t until I was an adult and discovered I loved to cook (and began collecting cookbooks — several of which rocked my world and changed the way I cooked), that I realized cranberry sauce could take on so many forms and be delicious in so many different, delectable ways.

There’s also the question of nourishment.

Cranberries fresh-harvested from the bog are bursting with nutrients, but the canned versions don’t exactly pack the same nutritional punch. Also, fresh cranberries are incredibly tart; there’s no way to eat them without adding some sort of sweetener. So, then, for those of us who are avoiding sugar or at least trying to be mindful of the types of sugar we ingest, what to do?

Well, for starters, each of these recipes features a nutrient-rich form of sweetener, and is crafted to highlight one nourishing ingredient or feature a seasonal ingredient.

For example, both limes and cranberries are in season right now (albeit in two very different growing areas!), so one recipe here is designed to feature those two seasonal ingredients. Another recipe features gelatin from grass-fed cattle, a highly nourishing ingredient that aids in digestion, and the benefits of which I describe in my recipe for homemade chewable gummy vitamins.

So, for your holiday feasting pleasure, here are six different cranberry sauce recipes to suit whatever fancy you may have. I hope you’ll find a new favorite among them!

All of these recipes appear in either my free e-cookbook, Whole Food Family Favorites, or one of the three books I’ve written on nourishing pantry staples: Restocking the Pantry (eBook), The DIY Pantry (paperback — due out in bookstores on January 18, 2014 and available for pre-order NOW – wahoo!), or The Natural Pantry Handbook (an eBook due out February 2014).

6 Nourishing Cranberry Sauce Recipes

Classic Cranberry Sauce

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3/4 cup unrefined cane sugar or honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Yields approximately 2 1/2 cups. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat and simmer until cranberries burst, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool completely at room temperature and then chill in refrigerator. Cranberry sauce will thicken as it cools.

Jellied Cranberry Sauce with Rosemary and Honey

  • 24 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries (about 6 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups honey
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 sprig rosemary (7-8 inches)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup pure cranberry juice or cold water
  • 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin

Yields approximately 3 cups. Place cranberries, honey, wine, rosemary, and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the berries have burst, 7 to 8 minutes. Place a colander over a large bowl and line with cheesecloth. Pour the cranberry mixture into the colander and let sit until all the juices have drained, about 15 minutes. Compost the solids. Measure the liquid in the bowl — you should have about 2 cups. Either reduce the liquid by simmering or add water if the liquid is inadequate. Meanwhile, very lightly grease a glass mixing bowl with a 3 to 4 cup volume, just enough to create a thin sheen on the inner surface of the mold. Pour the cold cranberry juice into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over. Let stand 3 to 4 minutes to soften. Then, over very low heat, warm the mixture just until the gelatin is dissolved. Pour the gelatin into the cranberry liquid, stir, then pour into the prepared bowl. Skim off any bubbles or foam. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours until fully set. Invert if desired.

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

I love this version plain or spooned over turkey or pork. Scrumptious!

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup red wine and/or pure cranberry juice
  • 2 large oranges, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • salt and pepper to taste

Yields approximately 3 cups. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium low and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes or until most of the cranberries have popped. Serve hot or chilled.

Cranberry Sauce with Lime (a.k.a. Cranberry & Lime Salsa)

Growing up, our Thanksgiving dinner table was often full of guests, which often included refugee families from other countries and other various individuals who needed the warm welcome of hospitality. Our Thanksgivings were deep and rich and certainly full of the memories that come with sharing a meal with people who don’t necessarily all speak the same language.

This simple cranberry relish is part salsa and part cranberry sauce, created to blend various food traditions with traditional American Thanksgiving flavors. Its fresh flavor is tart and festive and whether you serve it as an accompaniment to turkey or serve it with tortilla chips is up to you.

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries (about 3 cups)
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unrefined cane sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • zest of 1 lime

Yields approximately 3 cups. Pulse the cranberries in a food processor until finely chopped. Add in the onion and jalapeño and pulse only a few times, just until the onion and jalapeño are mixed in sufficiently. Empty the contents into a large bowl and stir in the cilantro, salt, sugar, lime juice, and lime zest. Alternatively, grind the cranberries, onion, and jalapeño in a food grinder, then toss in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. The flavor is best if made 1 day ahead.

Cranberry-Orange Sauce with Fresh Mint

This recipe highlights fresh flavors, as all the ingredients are left raw.

  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen cranberries (about 3 cups)
  • 1 small orange, scrubbed well and cut into 8 pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole cane sugar (any granulated variety will do)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh mint, leaves picked off and coarsely chopped

Yields approximately 3 cups. Place the cranberries, orange pieces, cane sugar, and sea salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until the orange is finely chopped. Add the mint leaves and pulse several times until finely chopped and fully incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours before serving.

Fermented Cranberry Sauce

This recipe highlights the benefits of lacto-fermentation. Don’t miss Wardee’s delicious fermented cranberry sauce too! And yes, once again my love for cranberry and orange shine through. If you’d prefer, use purely lemon juice and lemon zest, though the final sauce will be slightly more tart.

  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (1 bag)
  • 1 large apple, peeled and shredded
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of whey (see how to procure whey)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Zest from 1 orange

Yields approximately 1 quart. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and lightly pulse until the mix is coarsely chopped. Spoon or pour mixture into a 1 quart mason jar. Add tepid water, if needed, but be sure to leave about 1 inch of headroom. Tighten lid or use an airlock and leave at room temperature for 48 hours to ferment. Refrigerate and use within 2 months.

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  1. Christy says

    Do you leave the peel on the orange for the cranberry orange sauce with fresh mint? And when you say small, would a satsuma work, or should I use two of those? Thanks for these delicious sounding recipes just in time for Thanksgiving!

    • says

      Yes, leave the peel on. Just be sure to scrub it well since you’ll be eating it. ;-)

      A satsuma would work well – you’re certainly free to add a second if you really like orange, but just one sounds about right.



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