Cranberry Sauce, perfected.

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Cranberry Sauce, perfected. A la Canadienne.


I’m a gravy person, but people do want cranberry sauce, and I love the leftovers stirred into plain yoghurt for breakfast afterward. However, now that I’ve hit cranberry perfection, I may be tempted to try it in my post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches.


There is NO reason to buy canned cranberry sauce. Not ever. It is ridiculously easy to make, so much better homemade, healthier and amenable to the very slight tweaking I’ve given it here.


The instructions to make cranberry sauce are right on the box. Of course, to know this, you actually have to buy a box of cranberries. So do what it says, but replace the sugar and water or honey with maple syrup. There is no sweetener more fitting for fall as maple syrup, and it’s a lot less messy than sugar and water. The last two ingredients are mine, and they make all the difference.

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BTW: Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only two meals I make without garlic. Having been surprisingly delighted at the Toronto Garlic Festival by fermented black garlic in coffee ice-cream, I thought I’d try roasted garlic in cranberry sauce to give it some depth. Don’t do it. Revolting.

Perfect Cranberry Sauce


I tripled the recipe because we are a large party, and I like leftovers.


3 packages cranberries (213 g or 7.5 oz)

Zest and juice of one orange

I cup of maple syrup

¼ tsp. sea salt

pinch of cloves



The usual recommendation is to boil all the ingredients until most of the cranberries have popped, stirring as they cool. This will gel up nicely with some recognizably round berries, and it’s perfectly nice this way. I put in on low, however, and let it cook itself into a smush, with only a few berries intact. I like to soften the flavor of the orange and make sure the clove gets through.

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When I say a pinch of clove, I don’t even mean that much. Just touch your finger to it, and let what stick to it fall into the sauce. There is no spice that goes from heavenly to horrid faster than cloves when overused. The idea of the orange, the clove and the salt is to give a background flavor to the cranberries, not to compete with them. It hints at chutney without actually trying to mimic one.


Go on and try this, even if oranges add a foreign note to your locally sourced cranberries, and even if you generally hate cloves. Just the tiniest bit. I swear, it kicks it up into next level stuff. So easy to be that good.


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  1. Corinne Knox-Germans says:

    We love your sauce! We used honey instead of maple syrup, because its what we had more of. Was really great! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

    • Theresa Lemieux says:

      Bet the honey was good! And bet it goes nicely with cloves. Maybe we should try a pinch of cinnamon too next time. What do you think?

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