Gingery Orange Cranberry Sauce, A Signature Christmas Dish

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Cranberry sauce served on the side adds zest to every main dish at dinnertime. This Thanksgiving create your own special dish that everyone will look forward to eating. Many¬†family desserts, salads, and casseroles are favorites tweaked with “secret” ingredients that specially mark each as a signature dish — make this cranberry sauce your signature dish.

Cranberry sauce has been a Thanksgiving tradition in America since the first settlers rediscovered this bright, scarlet berry when the Pequot Indians shared with them the cranberry’s medicinal benefits. Familiar to the fruit’s bitter yet delightful taste when sweetened, the settlers passed on to the natives the cranberry’s culinary wonders of sauces, jellies, and breads.

Cranberry Sauce Recipe — a Thanksgiving and Christmas Treat

Thanksgiving dinner offers favorite traditional dishes serving hungry relatives of several generations. Mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, stuffing, turkey, gravy, and the plethora of desserts are all created from someone’s handed-down family recipe. However, along with all that goodness arranged so gloriously on the table, sits a small dish of jellied cranberry sauce scooped out of a metal can neglected from being part of the family custom.

Try this recipe and serve it proudly with all the old family recipes…it might become another one of your signature dishes. The following recipe is for large gatherings. It yields about 4-5 cups of cranberry sauce (However, this amount doesn’t last long even with my small group of eight people!).


  • 2 pkgs of fresh whole cranberries
  • 3 oranges (juice and set aside; save pulp- not the skin/fiber)
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest
  • 1/2 c. finely chopped pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons of grated ginger root
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar (add more for a sweeter taste)
  • 2 c. water

Prepare a day before needed; refrigerate and serve chilled or at room temperature.

In a large saucepan, heat sugar and water to a boil.
Add the cranberries, ginger, orange zest, and orange juice. Cook for 10 minutes until the cranberries pop (use a stirring spoon to mash some of the cranberries that haven’t popped).
Turn off heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in orange pulp and pineapple. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
Let cool. Before pouring sauce into a storing bowl, pour through a sieve to drain excess juice. Store the sauce in refrigerator overnight.
Store the excess juice. This is a delicious sauce to add over turkey or chicken.

Cranberry Sauce Recipe Variations

If you find the sauce too tart, boil 1/2 c. water and 1/2 c. sugar to form a “syrup”. Add to sauce in small portions until desired sweetness.
After you’ve prepared and refrigerated the sauce, add 1 cup of finely chopped fresh apples to the sauce. This will give your sauce more texture, crunch, and sweetness.
If more texture and less sweetness is desired, add 1/2 cup of finely chopped walnuts just before serving.

Suggestions for Serving Cranberry Sauces

Not everybody likes the taste of cranberry sauce, and some simply haven’t eaten a good cranberry sauce to know what they’ve been missing. Others, on the other hand, grew up eating the canned whole berry or gelatinous sauces which they look forward to every holiday.

Christmas dinner must include a cranberry sauce that everyone enjoys. Serve a few varieties that have different ingredients that provide different tastes of texture and sweetness — even include a canned version for those who really do like that traditional mainstay. Holiday dinners already provide a heap of food choices, add a little more variety by serving a few choices of cranberry sauces this year. Your array of sauces will definitely make your holiday dinner memorable, and perhaps become a new holiday tradition.

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