November 26, 2013

Easy 10-Minute Cranberry Sauce

Is anyone out there planning to serve store-bought cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving? Because if you are, hold everything and let me attempt to talk you out of this folly. 

Did you know cranberry sauce takes 10 minutes to make and is the easiest thing to do? Ever. The kind of easy where you just dump a bag of cranberries in a saucepan, add sugar and water and simmer for 10 minutes. It's so simple I'm even a little embarrassed to dedicate a whole blogpost to it. But if this means saving even just one human being from another hunk of canned jelly, then I will sleep better this Thanksgiving. 

Of course, the advantage of making your own sauce means you can get fancy with it if you wish, and add all kinds of delightful things like citrus peels and orange juice and spices (a little fresh ginger is nice). But to be honest, I've always preferred the taste of pure, straight-up, as-basic-as-it-gets cranberry sauce. Sweet, tart, simple perfection, the way my grammie used to make it. (I have been known to eat the stuff by the spoonful, when no one is looking).

And if you need extra convincing about all this, I hate to be a downer at such a merry time of year, but most store-bought cans are lined with cancer-causing BPA and Harvard researchers have found that folks who eat one serving of canned food daily over the course of 5 days have more than a tenfold increase of BPA levels in their bodies. Not only that, but most canned cranberry sauces are sweetened with GMO high fructose corn syrup. No thank you, Monsanto and Ocean Spray. 

All in all, my cranberry sauce cost me just over $3.00 to make with 100% certified organic ingredients. A store-bought can may have been slightly cheaper than that, but the few extra cents are well-worth it and here's why: supporting my local organic cranberry growers who have worked so very very hard to convert their farm to a certified organic cranberry farm is what Thanksgiving is all about, giving thanks to those who make it possible to have healthy food on our tables, now and for generations to come.

A very happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Yields about 2 cups of sauce

One 12-oz. bag of cranberries, equivalent of about 3 cups (use organic if you can, here's why)
3/4 cup cane sugar (or maple syrup)
1/2 cup water (you can also use apple juice or orange juice instead) 
1/4 tsp. butter (optional but it helps reduce the foam)

Place all ingredients except the butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir together and bring to simmer on medium heat. Cook until the berries have softened and some have popped to release their juice (about 10 minutes). Stir occasionally. If needed, add a bit more water to get the consistency you like. Add 1/4 tsp. butter and stir, this will help reduce the foam. Turn the heat off but leave the saucepan on the burner, allowing the sauce to cool slowly. The sauce will thicken as it cools. Transfer the cooled sauce to a serving dish for immediate use, or to a jar and refrigerate.

*If you prefer a sweeter sauce, use more sugar in this recipe (up to 1 cup in total). Or use less if you like your sauce on the tart side. (I find 1/2 cup of sugar in total is enough for me).


  1. Cranberry sauce is one of my favorite things ever! I make a gazillion batches every fall. I agree, simple is the way to go.

  2. I think you and Thugkitchen are on the same page in this instance!

    1. Mouahaha, I love those guys! Totally on the same page, thanks for sharing :-) (I think I should swear more LOL)