Cranberry Sauce

A Dish for Two Holidays

Cranberry sauce maintains a rightful place on tables throughout the holiday season. It’s perfect compliment to a savory Thanksgiving turkey (and great as a spread on sandwiches made with leftovers) and a festive dish for a pretty Christmas table. Whether you grew up eating the “real” thing or slices of the can-shaped jellied variety, you know you need it this holiday season.

Donate Your Cans

Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce ingredients are listed simply: cranberries, high fructose corn syrup, water and regular corn syrup. One serving contains 5.5 teaspoons of sugar and will cost you 110 calories. Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce isn’t any different. These canned varieties negate nearly all the benefits of cranberries. Any way you slice it (along those can lines for the jellied variety), you’re better off making your own. Using the recipe below, you can make a healthy, good, and good-for-you replacement, with very little effort.

Good For You

Cranberries are packed with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants, and–unlike other berries–prevents bacteria from sticking and multiplying in your urinary tract (preventing UTIs). TMI for sure, but they also have been shown to help prevent cavities and lower your risk for cancer. Cranberries inhibit acid production and keep sickness like Strep from hurting your mouth or teeth. Cranberries also inhibit the growth and development of breast, colon, prostate, lung, and esophageal tumor cells (according to RunnersWorld).

As mentioned above, canned cranberries contain a ton of sugar (natural and otherwise). So our recipe uses honey because not only does it contain trace amounts of vitamins and minerals (helping to fight off allergies if you’re using local), it contains a ton of antioxidants. High levels of antioxidants in the blood are definitely linked to lowering your risk of disease and decreasing inflammation.

Cranberry Sauce ingredients

Cranberry Sauce (Makes 16 ounces)

  • 12 ounces fresh whole cranberries
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¾ cup of water
  • 2 teaspoon orange zest, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Combine water and honey in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring to a boil. Stirring frequently so the honey doesn’t burn.
  2. Add cranberries and return to a boil. Let roll for about 10 minutes. Stirring continuously as the berries burst.
    Cranberry Sauce 1
  3. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 additional minutes. Continue stirring until all berries have burst. Add vanilla and one teaspoon orange zest. Stir well.
    Cranberry Sauce 2
  4. Place a fine mesh strainer over a mixing bowl and pour sauce in. Mash cranberries with the back of a spoon, until no pulp is left. Scrape the contents on the bottom of the strainer in the bowl occasionally. (This part is a labor of love.)
    Cranberry Sauce 3
  5. Add remaining teaspoon orange zest and stir to incorporate.
  6. Pour into a 16 ounce mason jar and seal. Cool completely at room temperature and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe Notes

  • If you prefer whole cranberry sauce, stop after step three and add the remaining orange zest.
  • The orange zest is to help curb the tartness of the cranberries, you can put as little or as much as you like. This recipe is for a less tart flavor.

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