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Homemade Orange Cranberry Sauce

Originally posted on November 12, 2008

I don’t like canned cranberry sauce. The whole gelatinous ooze thing doesn’t appeal to me.

Actually, I think the biggest problem is the sound it makes when it schloops out of the can onto the plate, and it maintains the ridges from the can. There is nothing appealing about that, in my opinion. When I first started hosting Thanksgiving at my home, I made my own cranberry sauce. Fresh food is always preferable to food from a metal can, so I found a fresh cranberry sauce recipe, and I cooked it. And no one liked it but me. Everyone else wanted the jello-like cranberry sauce out of a can. They don’t know what’s good, Dear Reader. Seriously. I liked the sauce. I still like the sauce, and I still make it every year. Even if I’m the only person who eats it (and I’m not). And I don’t get offended if they bring a can of the crappy stuff. It leaves more of the fresh sauce for me.

homemade cranberry sauce

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Homemade Orange Cranberry Sauce
  1. Rinse cranberries and pour into a medium saucepan. Pick out any spoiled berries, stems, and other undesirable material.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to the pan. Pour in some water, just enough to cover cranberries. (Use as little water as possible. Hold the cranberries down while you're pouring. Cranberries float. The more water you add now, the longer you will need to cook the sauce.)
  3. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for two to four hours, until sauce reaches desired thickness. If you added a lot of water in step two, you will be cooking forever.
  4. Taste, and add additional brown sugar as needed.
  5. Allow to cool. Refrigerate until serving.
Recipe Notes

I prepare this first thing in the morning, right after I've gotten up. I take it off the stove about a half hour before we're ready to eat, and it's usually perfect. Some years, it has cooked for five or six hours. It's almost impossible to overcook this cranberry sauce. The more water you add in step 2 above, the longer you will have to cook the cranberry sauce to get it to thicken properly. I enjoy the cooking process, as the cranberries pop and burst and make all kinds of noise. It's fun to watch. This sauce smells wonderful as the cranberries cook. This cranberry sauce looks very nice when served in a small white dish.

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Enjoy! Please come back and tell me how you like my cranberry sauce. Photo courtesy of Half Chinese on

© 2009 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

6 thoughts on “Homemade Orange Cranberry Sauce”

  1. Sounds delicious and similar to how I make mine…I usually use white sugar but will try brown next time for a change! I agree, I'll never buy canned again…

  2. Sounds yummy, but I'm afraid I'm in the gelatinous crowd. I even bought a can of the stuff yesterday just to make sure that we had enough.

  3. That isn't entirely true…Our Mother LOVES fresh cranberry sauce too, so she ate it with you that year. I however, will stay in the gelantinous crowd. 🙂

  4. I agree, home made is the ONLY way to eat cranberry sauce. I also started making my own many years ago. I am amazed that some still prefer the canned gloop!!!!

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