My Thanksgiving Declaration: No More Canned Cranberries!

cranberry serving set

I was browsing on Etsy the other day and came across this lovely picture of a vintage cranberry serving set. How funny is that? They actually had a special silverplated serving set for the can-shaped cranberry jelly!

A cranberry cylinder fits perfectly in the serving tray, and the serving utensil efficiently slices off jiggling disks to serve to your dinner guests! Ummm…..eww?

I’m sorry if what I am about to say offends some of you…(after No. 2 Spray and hemorrhoid relief, how offensive could it be!??)…but I can’t STAND that jellied cranberry sauce that comes in a can!

I mean LOOK at it! It’s unnatural I tell you!

canned cranberries

I’m not a big fan of the “whole berry” cranberry sauce in a can either, although it’s a big improvement over the gelatinous blob. But….I didn’t always feel that way.

Until I got married and was on my own for Thanksgiving for the first time…I figured the cranberries that magically appeared on our table every Thanksgiving were from a can! Oh the naivete of youth! But the first time I bought a can of cranberries I was appalled at how unsatisfactory they tasted compared to the cranberries my Mom served up every year. So I called up my Mom and asked her what the “secret” was. Well, color me cranberry-red! It turns out…making cranberry sauce from real, fresh cranberries is about the easiest thing to make on the face of the earth.

So I am here to declare on this day before the day before Thanksgiving….there is absolutely NO reason to ever buy canned cranberries again. (Unless of course you prefer them that way. Which I completely understand! It’s kind of along the same lines as my 13 year old son who will eat instant mashed potatoes, but not the homemade kind. *exasperated sigh*)

homemade cranberries

I realize this “declaration” will be old news to some of you. But when I was a young married gal it was a revelation! So this is for those of you who have yet to “see the light” when it comes to canned cranberries vs. fresh cranberries!   Now, step away from the can opener….and come with me over to the stove.

This is all there is to it my little friend…..

  • You’ve seen these bags in the grocery store produce section I’m sure. Next time you’re there, buy one.

homemade cranberries


  • Bring it home, open it and pour it in a saucepan.

homemade cranberries


  • Then pull out a measuring cup. Measure one cup of water, pour in pan.

homemade cranberries


  • Measure one cup of sugar, pour in pan.

homemade cranberries


  • Turn on stove, bring mixture to a boil, simmer 10 minutes.

homemade cranberries


  • Turn off pan. YOU, my friend, have just made homemade cranberry sauce!

homemade cranberries

Now doesn’t that look better than the canned stuff? Come on, you can’t deny it.

Remember, Santa is watching. ;-)

homemade cranberries

(Sorry, it’s a little out of focus….but even out of focus…it still looks better than the canned stuff! OK…I’ll stop now.)  :-)



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    • says

      Do any of you like Cranberry Relish? I know that’s the favorite for me! It is SOOO good! I cannot STAND the sauce or the jelly, but my mom like the other stuff :) I will let her know about this recipe! But here is my grandmother’s old fashioned recipe for Cranberry Relish! All you need is:
      2 apples (any variety)
      2 oranges (any variety)
      1 bag of cranberries (the regular size that you usually see)
      1 1/3 cup of sugar
      Blend up all ingredients in a blender until the texture of relish. Pour all contents in a bowl, and stir. YUM YUM!

      • Pat says

        This is a delicious recipe and one which I had misplaced. Thanks so much for posting this. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Karol says

        we made this at home when I was a youngster but back then there were no food processors. Some of you may remember the old fashioned food grinder that fastened to the edge of a table or something. We used the pull out bread board. The grinding was the fun part, didn’t know it was ‘work’ then. LOL I didn’t like the relish tho or any kind of cranberries.

      • Lisa says

        Wanda, your recipe reminds me of mine – I don’t use apples, but I DO use the WHOLE orange, zest, pith, and all (get rid of the seeds if there happen to be any). Just chunk the whole thing up before blending it. Oh, and I find a food processor works better than a blender because the relish is so thick it won’t stay in the blades and you keep having to shut the thing off and push it back down in there.

        One more thing – wash and sort through the cranberries before any of these processes – I like to look through the berries and get rid of any that are mushy or bad looking before preparing them!

  1. Connie says

    Homemade is definitely better. For those who like the jellied variety, you can easily make it yourself! Just make the sauce as noted above, and puree the mixture in the food processor or blender. Once it is chilled, it’ll have the jelly consistency.

    • Elizabeth says

      Thank you. I always read that you had to push the pulp thru a fine mesh strainer. Never thought of the blender…I will next time though. Wish I knew this Sunday though…first time making my own jellied cranberry sauce didn’t turn out as planned (possibly because my 10 year old did most of the work while I was prepping something else for the early ‘friends’ thanksgiving we had last night.) next time though :)

    • says

      Muy, Muy, I LOVE you!
      I LOVE the jelly, can’t stand the chunks in it. Don’t know why I didn’t think about pureeing it myself. So, cranberries are now on the very short list of things still to be picked up.

    • Patti says

      Thanks, Connie for that tip…it’s a texture thing with me–I love the smooth jelly type & I’m sure the homemade version is much tastier. :-)

  2. Laura N. says

    I just got home from school and was dreading the thought of looking up a new receipe for cranberries…Thank You for reminding me there is no better way to prepare cranberries….and I use the leftovers for scones the next morning…new receipe…what was I thinking? Thanks again!

  3. Diana W. says

    Whoa! I got a serving utensil from one of my husband’s grandparents when they died. It looks exactly like the spoon/slicer thing in the picture! I never knew that was it’s original function. I don’t have the matching dish, though. I’m so tickled to find out what it was originally used for.

  4. Jaysquare says

    Wonder how it would work sub. splenda for the sugar. Always looking for diabetic recipes that taste REAL! Have a wonderful holiday and thank you for all the fabulous ideas. Blessings.

    • says

      I TOTALLY make this sugar free all the time now! Get yourself some XYLITOL, the granular kind, I get mine at the health food store in a big bag, not the little packages! Use 3/4 cup Xylitol and 3 packages Splenda and VOILA! Yummy sugar free cranberry sauce! :) I use a little less of the water, just under 1 cup instead of the full cup, seems to thicken a bit better. Good luck! :)

  5. Keisha says

    I attempted these earlier this week as a test run, and I have one note to add…don’t overcook. If you cook too long they release too much acid and you will have a very bitter aftertaste to your sauce and trust me no amount of sugar will fix it, I tried. Going to give it another try tomorrow.

    • Jamie says

      I know it’s bit late now…but try adding like a teaspoon of baking soda. Should take the bitter right out.

  6. Dana says

    If you have a stick blender, just blend your cranberries up in the pan until they are smooth, then they’ll gel in the jar as they cool. I did 4 bags of cranberries last night, and made some whole berry sauce, and some gelled sauce. I water bath canned them and now I have enough cranberries for Thanksgiving and Christmas!

    • CTY says

      Canning your own–now that’s an idea I can get behind! From the other comments it sounds like there is no need for pectin–did you use any? Did you add orange zest? I made orange marmalade for the first time this year and added a couple of dried cranberries to each jar to add a little burst of color. Looked and tasted awesome. Maybe I’ll add some strips of orange rind to the cranberry. Couldn’t hoight (hurt, I’m from NJ originally).

  7. Linda says

    Too Funny Jillee!!! I actually received one of those sets as a wedding gift back in 1987!!! And as much as I hate the can variety….I have a son that just loves it!! Go figure – he’s my picky eater though and you know how they are! LOL!! I make my own for the rest of us but I make it with orange juice also. I prefer the real stuff too, but will keep the college age son happy with the jellied can variety served in its own special dish! Happy Thanksgiving!