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~ A Truly Tart & Triple-Delicious Cranberry Sauce ~

6a0120a8551282970b0133f64fcc53970bCranberry sauce has always been one of my favorite things on the Thanksgiving table... and I mean on anyone's Thanksgiving table.  I'm a person who has a taste for sweet and savory, and loves a great sweet and savory fruit sauce with almost any protein.  I've never tasted a cranberry sauce I did not like, except once, and it contained pears and espresso (or very strong coffee).  It was in a fancy country-club restaurant and it remained on my plate at the end of the day. 

I grew up eating the smooth, gelatin-like sauce that slid out of the can onto a serving plate.  My mom would slice it into 1/2" discs, then cut each disc into four triangular wedges.  To this day, on the day after thanksgiving, my favorite cold sandwich gets layered with:  cranberry sauce, my mom's stuffing (mom's is a requirement) and turkey on toasted brioche.  As I got older and more sophisticated, I moved on, to the whole berry-type of canned cranberry sauce.  In my early married years, it made many appearances on our weeknight dinner table.  To this day, in a pinch I have absolutely no reservations about opening up a can of good ole' Ocean Spray!

For several years, I experimented with several different verions of homemade cranberry sauce, trying to develop a sauce with the texture of whole berry and an exciting spiciness a well.   Then, back in the '80's, I settled on two that I just loved:  1) Triple Delicious Cranberry Sauce, and, 2)  Cranberry & Crystallized Ginger Sauce.  I stopped experimenting after these two because both have the textures and spices that make me want a second scoop on my plate.  Now, I won't lie to you, the Triple Delicious Cranberry Sauce (which I am sharing with you today) started with another one of those recipes I clipped out of a magazine somewhere at some point in time.  If I ever remember where, I shall return to this post and give credit where credit is due.  I immediately liked the concept of it:  cranberries, dried cranberries and cranberry juice!  The Cranberry & Crystallized Ginger Sauce, which I'll share with you at another time, morphed out of the Triple Delicious Cranberry Sauce recipe, which everyone in my family loves!

Cranberry Sauce #4 (Ingredients) 













3  cups frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate, thawed, (2, 12-ounce containers) or:

3  cups frozen apple-cranberry frozen juice cocktail concentrate, thawed, (2, 12-ounce containers)

1  cup sugar

3  pounds fresh cranberries (4, 12-ounce bags)

6  ounces dried cranberries

1  16-ounce jar orange marmalade, the best available

1  large orange, about 8 ounces

3/4  teaspoon ground allspice

~ Step 1.  Using a microplane grater, remove all of the zest from the orange, being careful to avoid any of the white pith.  You will have about 1 1/2-2 tablespoons.  If you have more, use it all, as it will just add to the great flavor of the cranberry sauce.  If you don't have a microplane grater, I recommend you get one... this is a kitchen tool that will make your life a whole lot easier!

Note:  Zest is the perfumy outermost skin layer of citrus fruit, which is removed with the aid of a microplace grater, citrus zester, paring knife or vegetable peeler.  Only the colored portion of the skin, not the white pith, is considered the zest.  The aromatic oils in citrus zest are what add so much flavor to raw or cooked and sweet or savory dishes.

Cranberry Sauce #5 (Cranberries and Dried Cranberries Added) ~ Step 2.  Preferably in a non-alumimun stockpot, over low heat, combine the cranberry juice and sugar.  Stir constantly, until the sugar dissolves.  Stir in the fresh and dried cranberries.

Note:  Aluminum is a great heat conductor, however, it is not recommended that food containing items like eggs, wine, tomatoes or other acidic ingredients be stored in them for long periods of time.  In the case of the acidic cranberry sauce, after it is cooked, I let it cool in the pot for several hours.  If you do plan to use an aluminum stockpot to cook the cranberry sauce in, that is fine, just transfer the cranberry sauce to another container to cool!

Cranberry Sauce #6 (Cranberries Popping & Foamy) ~ Step 3.  Increase heat to simmer rapidly, stirring frequently, until the fresh cranberries are vigorously popping and the mixture is foamy, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Cranberry Sauce #7 (Stir in the Spices)





~ Step 4.  Stir in the orange marmalade, orange zest and ground allspice.  Make sure these three ingredients are thoroughly incorporated into the cranberry mixture.

Cranberry Sauce #8 (Cooled & Finished)





~ Step 5.  Partially cover and set aside to cool completely.  This will take 3-4 hours or longer.  Stir occasionally as the mixture is cooling.

Cranberry Sauce #9 (Ready for Refrigerator or Freezer)





~ Step 6.  Portion the cranberry sauce into 2-4-cup size containers.  If  you are a regular reader of this blog, you've noticed I freeze exclusively in reusable glass containers.  The containers in this picture are 2-cup size.  Cover and refrigerate up to one week prior to serving or freeze for up to one year!  How great is that!!!

A bit about cranberries:  Cranberries are one of only a handful of fruits native to North America.  They are also known as bounceberries (because ripe ones bounce) and craneberries (after the shape of the shrubs pale pink blossoms, which resemble the heads of cranes often seen wading through the cranberry bogs).  Our Native Americans introduced them to the first settlers.  Today, we enjoy these shiny, tart, scarlet-colored berries in chutneys, pies, cobblers and countless desserts, as well as the traditional cranberry sauce, where their tart flavor is usually combined with other fruits.  The early Americans appreciated them because they are high in vitamin C, which medicinally warded off scurvy, plus, they contain a natural preservative, benzoic acid, which means that if kept cool, they can be stored for up to six months.  Harvested between Labor Day and Halloween, the peak market period for cranberries is from October through December.

A Truly Tart & Triple Delicious Cranberry Sauce:  Recipe yields 9 cups.

Special Equipment List:  microplane grater; 8-quart stockpot w/lid, preferably non-aluminum; 2-4-cup size freezer containers, preferably glass (optional)

Cook's Note:  This cranberry is sauce is incredibly easy to make.  From start to finish it takes less than 30 minutes.  I just love having this flavorful homemade cranberry sauce in my freezer all year round and I hope you do too!  If you are planning to freeze your cranberry sauce, when portioning it into the freezer containers, leave 1/4"-1/2" of headspace at the top of each container as the sauce will expand as it freezes.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie Preschutti/Copyright 2010)


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