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The Secret to Making Great Cranberry Sauce Loaded With Vitamin C

The former executive director of a successful nonprofit agency now content specialist, Cynthia writes about a variety of researched topics.

The Secret of Great Cranberry Sauce

The Secret of Great Cranberry Sauce

The Secret to Making Great Cranberry Sauce

During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays in the United States when great cranberry sauce is most often served, you may hear cooks proudly proclaim that they have a secret to homemade cranberry sauce. No cans of jellied or whole cranberries for them; they make the real thing.

For years, I thought there was some complex secret to making great, fresh cranberry sauce which, by the way, is loaded with vitamin C. I actually learned the secret to the cranberry sauce when I bravely decided to tackle the sauce myself. I bought a package of fresh cranberries—not hard to find in the produce section of your local supermarket during the fall harvesting time. They are usually already bagged, but you can find them by the pound in plastic containers as well. I chose a bag and I prefer organic. I then decided to experiment with ingredients—and voilá: the secret to making great cranberry sauce was that it is so very easy to make!

Fresh Cranberries - the key ingredient to making great cranberry sauce.

Fresh Cranberries - the key ingredient to making great cranberry sauce.


Vitamin C and the Health Benefits of Cranberries

When it comes to health benefits of eating cranberries, the little red berry ranks right up there with blueberries and the redder the berry the better the benefits. Although packed with nutrition, the little red berry is very sour when uncooked. Even when cooked, however, the cranberry, which s 90% water, is still an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Like the blueberry, the cranberry is full of antioxidants, putting it in the category of a superfood. Antioxidants are important in the reduction of free radicals which play a role in damaging cells that could lead to cancer. It also contains fiber, manganese, Vitamins E and K, copper and panthenic acid.

In addition to the cancer fighting antioxidants, research has shown that cranberries also:

  • prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs),
  • help prevent gum disease according to the Center for Oral Biology and Eastman Department of Dentistry at the University of Rochester Medical Center,
  • improves immune function, and
  • decreases blood pressure.

In addition to being the main ingredient in cranberry sauce, cranberries can be added to the diet as a juice or dried. They can be used in a variety of ways such as in drinks, sprinkled dried over salads or on cereals. Cooked, they can be added to any number of dips and sauces or salsas. They can also be baked into bread. It just requires a little imagination when deciding how to include cranberries in your diet.

The accommodating little berry can be frozen and kept up to a year. Many of the recipes can be adjusted for using the fresh or frozen cranberry.


Ingredients for Making Great Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 12 oz. bag cranberries
  • 3/4 cup sugar, (1 c. if you like it sweeter)
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice including pulp, (2 small oranges)
  • 1/4 cup pineapple soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 cup water
Part of the secret to great cranberry sauce!

Part of the secret to great cranberry sauce!

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

10 min

15 min

25 min

1/2 cup servings for 4 people

  1. Carefully rinse cranberries of any remaining debris or sand in a colander, also removing any shriveled cranberries.
  2. Using a medium size saucepan over medium heat, pour all liquid ingredients and the orange zest into the pan. Add sugar, stirring it in. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally to avoid any sticking.
  3. Slowly add the clean cranberries to the boiling mixture. Bring to a second boil and reduce heat to simmer. Allow the cranberry mixture to simmer for approximately 10 minutes. Occasionally stir gently to avoid sticking. Cranberries will be soft and most will have burst. The mixture will be slightly thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and carefully pour the mixture into a heat resistant bowl. Avoid touching the saucepan or the cranberry sauce without using pot holders or some other protection; both the pan and the sauce will be very hot! Covering the bowl with plastic wrap is optional if you are going to be serving the sauce soon. The sauce will thicken even more as it cools. Serve in the manner of your choice.
  5. Tip: You can prepare your cranberry sauce as much as three days in advance if you keep it stored tightly in the refrigerator.

Rate the Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Cooked Cranberry Sauce; Ready to Serve

The cranberry sauce is ready serve alongside your favorite Holiday dishes.

The cranberry sauce is ready serve alongside your favorite Holiday dishes.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2016 Cynthia B Turner


Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on August 01, 2019:

I didn't know about pineapple soda until using it in the recipe. It has an interesting flavor. I lke what it adds to the recipe. Take care.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 31, 2019:

When we lived in central Wisconsin back in the 1970s, the weathermen gave the cranberry bog forecast as well a regular forecast close to harvest time. As you might guess, there were many cranberry bogs near where we lived.

Your recipe sounds delicious. I was unaware that there was such a thing as pineapple soda. It would add a good flavor as well as the oranges.

Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on January 08, 2019:

Definitely try next Thanksgiving. It's so easy and, best of all, it's so good (and good for you). Have a brilliant New Year!

Theresa Ast from Atlanta, Georgia on December 29, 2018:

Now this is what I should have read right before Thanksgiving. Looks wonderful and sounds healthy too. So, next year. :)

Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on July 13, 2017:

Hi FlourishAnyway, Please try this recipe. It's not so tart but not very sugary either. The season will be here before we know it! Take care.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 12, 2017:

Looks and sounds delicious. My dad makes his own every Thanksgiving but it's a bit too tart for my taste, so I'd like to try this one!

Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on January 13, 2017:

Yes, it is always better to make our own. I hope that you will try the cranberry sauce one day. It would go well with any number of dishes, I think.

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 12, 2017:

This sounds delicious and easy to make. Thanks for revealing the secret of making this wonderful recipe! It is always good to make our own sauce rather than buying it from the market.

Your pictures and instructions are very helpful . Many thanks for sharing this!

Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on December 29, 2016:

Hi Nell. Thanks for leaving a comment. My eyes are opened and I'm no longer a cheater! Lol. Take care.

Nell Rose on December 28, 2016:

I love Cranberry sauce, but usually head for the supermarket and cheat! lol! this is wonderful! Great recipe!

Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on December 05, 2016:

Hi Genna, When you find out the health benefits of cranberries it really is like a bonus. I must say that since I discovered the secret to the sauce, I will never knowingly eat canned cranberry sauce again. Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, Take care.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on December 04, 2016:

I love cranberries - both juice and sauce. Living in SE Massachusetts, we have many working cranberry bogs. I had no idea they had so many health benefits. Thank you for this interesting hub, and recipe. I look forward to trying it.

DDE on December 02, 2016:

A great way to stay healthy.

Cynthia B Turner (author) from Georgia on December 01, 2016:

Hi Rachel, Thank you for checking out my recipe. I have always loved cranberry sauce, too. What I really got excited about was discovering that I could make it. The fact that it can be made a few days ahead of time makes it ideal since never thought I had the time to fit that in. It really is no more cans for me. Thanks for the stars and for pinning. Take care!

Rachel L Alba from Every Day Cooking and Baking on November 30, 2016:

Hi Cynthia, I love cranberry sauce. My daughter made cranberry relish this year for Thanksgiving Day and I found so many uses for it besides accompanying turkey. The same can be said for cranberry sauce. Thank you for the great recipe. I gave it 5 stars and pinned it.

Blessings to you.

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