Easy Lemony Cranberry Sauce

- a thing to eat on bread

Makes about 2 cups sauce.

An autumn tradition in my home, this recipe makes a thick jam with a lemony fragrance. Since cranberries (and lemons) are very high in pectin and this sauce contains no additional liquids (beyond the lemon juice and residual water) this sauce is quite stiff when chilled. At room temperature, it is spreadable, but will not run all over the plate. Leaving larger pieces of lemon zest is a nice texture change and offers an unpredictable pleasant burst of intense lemon flavor.

  • 1 standard bag of cranberries (about 12 oz.)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
Additional needs
  • 1 heavy bottomed saucepan that holds at least 1 quart, preferably enamel or other non-reactive lining.
  • Something heat resistant with which to stir. A wooden spoon or paddle, or heat resistant rubber spatula are ideal.

Wash and pick over the cranberries, discarding any that squish or do not float. Remove any twiggy bits. Drain the excess water and place the berries in the saucepan with the sugar.

Remove the zest of the lemon with a grater, zester, or peeler. If removing the zest with a peeler, cut the resulting pieces into narrow strips. Add the zest to the cranberries.

Juice the lemon, pulp is OK but remove any seeds and membrane. Add the juice to the cranberries.

Place the saucepan on medium high heat. Stir to distribute the moisture. Continue to stir occasionally as it bubbles and the berries begin to pop. Stir gently if you like whole berries in your sauce, stir more vigorously if you like a more homogenous sauce. The sauce is done when all of the sugar has melted. This can be determined by looking at the back of whatever it is with which you are stirring, or by scooping up a bit of syrup in a spoon. Ignore any sugar crystals sticking to the sides of the pot above the sauce line, and take your sample from the middle of the pot.

Decant and can if desired. It keeps a long time refrigerated, even if not canned. Excellent on turkey, as well as on bread, scones, etc.

note: I double checked quantities and have revised both the finished volume and the 'standard bag' size.