It’s cranberry season!
Years ago, we lived on the Washington coast and every year in October, the cranberry harvest would begin. The bogs would be flooded and the small pink berries would float to the top. It was really a beautiful scene on a foggy, coastal morning. The farmers would don their waders and begin knocking the berries off the bushes and scooping them up for harvest.
Every year in October I begin keeping my eye out for this season’s harvest to arrive in the stores! I buy at least one bag every time I order groceries or walk by the case in the store.
We use cranberries at our house throughout the year. Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins are a favorite, as well as Cranberry Chocolate Fudge, and making Cranberry Juice to mix with orange juice. As the store tends to run out long before the next harvest, I always make sure my freezer is well stocked!
Last year I discovered that many of my friends make their own cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving! Because it’s fast and easy and tastes amazing! You can be really diverse in your recipe, and you can even can it your own self to enjoy beyond the holidays.
Most jellied cranberry sauces have the same base recipe. You can add spices like cinnamon or allspice or diced hot peppers. I include orange juice and orange zest in mine, but I will be making a Spicy Hot Pepper and Cranberry Sauce this year to have with cream cheese on our Friday football sliders! Read here about our Thanksgiving weekend family traditions.
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
- 9 Cups Fresh Cranberries
- 4 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 3 1/2 Cups Orange Juice
- The Zest of One Orange
- Add the cranberries, orange juice and water to a medium saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Add this mixture to a food processor or blender and blend until mostly smooth.
- Pour the blended mixture through a fine mesh sieve back into your saucepan and press to extract the juice.
- Add the sugar and stir until dissolved while heating the mixture on medium high.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and continue to boil until it reaches 215 degrees on a candy thermometer.
- Remove from the heat and pour into warmed, sterilized half pint jars or wide mouth pint jars.
- Fill to about 1/4 inch from the top and place new lids on the jars.
- The jars may go in the refrigerator at this point or you can do a standard water bath process for canning. Research safe practices.