Cranberries for Thanksgiving and Beyond

November 25, 2014(updated on October 3, 2018)

bag of cranberries

I realize that Thanksgiving is mere moments away, but I thought I’d do a quick round-up of my personal cranberry-centric writing, just in case anyone was still searching for a new jam, chutney, or sauce for this year. Additionally, while these preserves are most traditional on the fourth Thursday in November, they also make good accents (and gifts!) throughout the holiday season.

cranberry apple jam

First up are my cranberry-based jams. These spreads can be served on Thanksgiving morning on a toasted scone, or with the turkey later that day. Because cranberries have so much natural pectin, these jams make an excellent filling in thumbprint cookies because they won’t get runny during baking.

molded cranberry sauce

Now for sauces and marmalades. These tend to be a little less sweet than the jams above, but just as delicious

pickled cranberries

The rest of these cranberry items resist being grouped into a single category. There’s my pickled cranberries, which may well be my favorite cranberry preserve ever and pair up best with dark meat. A couple years back, I wrote a piece for Grid Philly that featured cranberries, and the oven-roasted butternut squash and cranberry dish in that article is one I love.

If you prefer cranberries in quick breads, these mini-loaves will please you (of course, they can also be baked in a muffin tin or even a conventional loaf pan).

cranberry clafoutis

Another delicious cranberry treatment is this clafoutis from Yvette Van Boven’s book, Home Made Winter. It works for dessert, or on a brunch buffet.

Finally, I’ve got two Thanksgiving suggestions that don’t involve cranberries, but are so good they require shout-outs. The first is the lentil pate from Kim O’Donnel’s book The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations. It hits all the flavor notes that a batch chopped liver does, but without necessitating that you actually deal with liver.

The second suggestion is the sweet potato puree that I wrote about for Table Matters two years ago. The recipe is adapted from one that Heidi Swanson posted back in 2006 and has been a favorite of mine since I first spotted it.

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13 thoughts on "Cranberries for Thanksgiving and Beyond"

  • I love the idea of cranberries. So beautiful and packed with vitamins. However, I just have never been able to get past how tart they are. Do any of these recipes make cranberries actually sweet? Is the apple cranberry jam more like a sweet-but-tart jam than a traditional sour tasting sauce? I don’t mind tart, but most cranberry recipes are just too tart for me. Thanks!

    1. The apple cranberry jam provides a nice sweet/tart balance whereas the spiced cranberry is pretty tart. I made both last year and loved them!

  • I bought a big bag of cranberries earlier this week assuming there would be some good cranberry canning recipes on your site… I am not disappointed! I have the “canned” sauce bubbling on the stove right now, though I am actually going to WB can most of it. 🙂 Thank you!

  • I have had success filling the small 4 oz jars with cranberry sauce, letting it set up in the fridge, then gently warming the outside of the the little jars. The jelly unmolds cleanly for me this way, & looks lovely on whatever serving dish one chooses to use. Mine is a Wexford cut glass tray, that was probably meant for something else, but works well for this & holds several of the molds well.

  • Made the apple-cranberry jam this year (along with apple butter and blueberry jam) for holiday gift giving. I used less sugar and added some fall spices — we had it with the turkey this year in place of cranberry sauce and it was a huge hit! Thanks for the great recipes!

  • I found fresh quince at the farmer’s market last Saturday, and I’ve been thoroughly indecisive as to how to use them. I’m toying with the idea of making a cranberry quince crisp today. I’ll let you know how it turns out. 🙂

  • Hi, Marisa – how do you tell if a modified recipe is safe for BWB? Is there a service that will review a recipe for safety? (My state does not have master food preservers, and extension doesn’t help with this.)

    I wanted a very specific color and flavor for my cranberry sauce this year; I re-read Food in Jars and Preserving by the Pint and all of the cranberry entries from the blog, and then ended up using bits and pieces from all of them to make my sauce.

    It came out wonderful, but I am not sure it’s safe to BWB for shelf-storage. I’m not too worried about this batch, as it tastes so good that I’m eating it right out of the fridge and it won’t last long, but I’d like to be able to can it to give as gifts.

      1. Thanks for the reference! Based on that page, I think it’s probably OK – I used cranberries, pears, apple cider, ½ an orange (chopped) and ½ an orange (juiced and zested), and 2/3 of a cup of sugar. Your notes say that oranges are not as acidic as lemons, but am I right that all the rest of the ingredients are acidic enough for BWB anyway? I got a thick, lovely, tasty result…and I’d love to share this recipe.

  • What great ideas! You always suggest the best! I’m going in search of the butternut squash and cranberry dish as soon as I finish this note.

    Your mention of cranberries reminded me that I’m looking for new ways to use persimmons – both hachiya and fuyu. We can only eat so many and I’d love to have ways to enjoy them year round (yes, we dry them). Any ideas would be most welcome.

    Thanks for all you do!