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I hesitated to write this post; cranberry sauce is such a polarizing condiment and I didn’t want to start anything. But then my love won over my doubt, because cranberry sauce is one of my very favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner. I love the stuff that slides out of a can, even though I shouldn’t (and haven’t actually tasted it in years, so it’s probably not what I remember… but I digress). I love the cranberry-orange relish I associate with holiday meals at my Nana’s house. I love my Mom’s homemade cranberry sauce with dried apricots and orange juice. But most of all, I love the way I make cranberry sauce, with candied ginger and lime, and I am sharing the recipe today so you can have some on your holiday table if you’d like. I made mine last night in less than twenty minutes.

My method and combination of flavors is not wildly creative or unique, but it makes sense– cranberries harmonize well with both citrus and ginger and the three flavors together are a symphony. (I couldn’t resist.) My recipe was inspired by the festive cranberry juice with ginger ale/beer and a lime twist I enjoy so much, but somehow only drink at this time of the year. The sauce is quick to make (about 20 mins., as I mentioned) using fresh or frozen cranberries and is so pretty, so tasty with turkey or mashed potatoes or squash, as you know, if you are a fan of cranberry sauce. I’m not here to convince you to like it if you don’t, but… I have converted at least two people who swore they didn’t like cranberry sauce until they tasted this version. Just sayin’. (The truth is, it makes me cringe when I see a sad pile of uneaten cranberry sauce on an otherwise clean plate, so save it for me if you don’t want any! I promise I can finish the whole bowl on my own.) Whatever your cranberry preferences and traditions may be, I hope you have a safe, happy, warm Thanksgiving wherever you are. What’s your favorite dish on the Thanksgiving table?

zingy cranberry sauce

Zingy Cranberry Sauce with Ginger & Lime (makes about 5 cups)

  • 2 c. water
  • 2 c. evaporated organic cane juice or white sugar
  • 6 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
  • zest of one lime
  • juice of half of a lime
  • 2 T. minced candied ginger*, or 1 T. grated fresh ginger

In a larger-than-you-think-you-need stockpot or pan, heat the sugar and water together until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is just boiling. Look over your cranberries and remove any with blemishes before adding them to the boiling water-sugar mixture (which is a simple syrup). Return the mixture to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook for 8 mins. The cranberries will be popping and bursting, which is why you want a larger cooking vessel than you think, and you can help them along with the back of a spoon if you like, but it’s not necessary. After 8 mins., add the lime juice and ginger to the pot and cook for another 2-3 mins. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime zest, then allow to cool in the pot for about half an hour. Transfer to a refrigerator-safe container with a tight lid and refrigerate until needed. You can make your cranberry sauce several days in advance, and it will keep for at least a few weeks. Though you could make it the day of your meal, I would recommend doing so at least 6 hours in advance to allow it to chill thoroughly, and for flavors to meld. The recipe can be very easily doubled or halved if you like. Enjoy!

*Sometimes called crystallized ginger, look for this item in the bulk section of the grocery store with dried fruits, or in the baking aisle of the grocery store, or in specialty kitchen-y stores like Williams-Sonoma.