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Fresh Orange Cranberry Sauce

Each holiday season, Americans serve 5 million gallons of cranberry sauce. And the red, tart condiment has long had a place at the Thanksgiving table. There’s a reference from 1672 of Native Americans and settlers boiling cranberries with sugar to serve on meat. Amelia Simmons, the country’s first known cookbook author, included a recipe for cranberry sauce in her 1796 book, American Cookery.


Ocean Spray, the leading producer of canned cranberry sauce, sells 70 million cans annually—at about 200 berries per can. Those of us who prefer the homemade version contribute to the purchase of 20 million bags per year.


While roughly 75 percent of diners opt for the canned version, preparing fresh cranberry sauce is almost as easy as using a can opener. Whichever way you serve it, one thing’s for sure: cranberry sauce is here to stay.



1 12 oz bag of cranberries

1 cup sugar

1 ½ cup water

Zest of one naval orange

Juice of one naval orange

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg



  1. Rinse the cranberries and slice one-fourth of them in half. Put all the cranberries and remaining ingredients in a saucepan. The berries are naturally tart, and I find the orange provides a nice balance with its natural sweetness, as well as a mild note of citrus.

  2. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring and mashing the whole berries. The sauce will thicken as it cooks. For variety, sometimes I’ll add toasted pecans after the sauce thickens.

  3. Store covered in the refrigerator.



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