Discover the nostalgic flavors of the past with this semi-homemade vintage cranberry sauce recipe. Elevate your holiday table with this delightful blend of tradition and simplicity, adding a touch of vintage charm to your festive spread.
Cranberry sauce is a staple at holiday meals. It can be a bit polarizing as you tend to love or hate cranberry sauce. I was not a fan until I started making homemade cranberry sauce. Now I make it for most holiday meals.
The history of cranberry sauce is not clear but indigenous people in the US have been growing and eating cranberries for centuries. Cranberries are native to North America.
“An account from the American colonies in 1672 mentions the ways that both Native Americans and European settlers used cranberries, “boyling them with sugar for a sauce to eat with their meat.” And one of cranberry’s earliest documented appearances with turkey can be found in the 1796 cookbook American Cookery, where author Amelia Simmons suggests pairing roast turkey with cranberry sauce and boiled onions.” – Food & Wine
Only about 5 percent of America’s total cranberry crop is sold as fresh fruit, most of it is processed into canned cranberry sauce or juice. Americans consume 5,062,500 gallons of jellied cranberry sauce every holiday season.
Canned cranberry sauce was first invented by Marcus L. Urann in 1912. To help with the fact that cranberries have a short selling season he started to can them. And Americans have been loving (or hating) canned cranberry sauce ever since.
How to Make Cranberry Sauce (Semi-Homemade Method)
I have noticed that cranberry sauce canned and homemade is used a lot in 1950s magazines. I’ve already shared a few vintage recipes that call for cranberry sauce including cranberry glazed ham, a cranberry dessert called a cranberry noel, and cranberry banana bread. All have been really good. I also have a modern recipe that uses cranberry sauce, cranberry cream cheese danishes. They are another semi-homemade recipe and amazing!
They also include it in a lot of Thanksgiving meal plans and other holiday meals as well, served as a simple side dish to be served alongside meat like ham or turkey.
While I’ve been making an easy homemade orange cranberry sauce for years I thought it would be fun to try a vintage cranberry sauce recipe that is even easier as it’s only semi-homemade. You start with a can of cranberry sauce but add to it making it so much better.
Scroll down to find the full recipe card. There is a printable version as well!
You will need these ingredients:
- Cranberry sauce (jellied or whole)
- Orange zest
- Orange juice
Once you have your ingredients gathered all you need to do is mix all of the ingredients well in a bowl.
You can serve chilled or heated. You can also make this ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you are ready to eat it.
Tips for Making the Best Cranberry Sauce
I find that using fresh orange makes a big difference when it comes to cranberry sauce. Since with this recipe you need orange zest you will already have oranges on hand so freshly squeezing your orange juice will be easy.
If you are new to making fresh juice I recommend either a simple manual juicer which is fine for recipes like this when you don’t need a lot of juice. Another good option is the KitchenAid citrus juicer attachment.
I have both options and I find that I use my manual juicer when I just need small amounts of juice for a recipe and I use my KitchenAid attachment when I have larger amounts to juice.
If you have a disability that impacts your hands or strength a powered juicer like the KitchenAid attachment is a really good option. It does cut down on effort and time by a lot. It’s also easy to clean and use.
How Long Does Cranberry Sauce Last?
When stored in an airtight container in the fridge homemade cranberry sauce can last up to two weeks. Since this recipe uses orange juice I tend to stick to just one week to be safe.
How do you know if cranberry sauce has gone bad? Check to see if it smells off, has a weird appearance or taste, or if mold has appeared. Toss it if there is anything that appears off.
Can You Freeze Cranberry Sauce?
You can also freeze homemade cranberry sauce! Just put it in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. It will stay fresh for a few months but is safe to eat for over a year.
You can also freeze fresh cranberries in their original bag or a freezer bag for up to a year. Since they are seasonal if you want to make a fully homemade cranberry sauce it’s a great idea to buy a second bag to put in the freezer so if you struggle to find them during the year or even the next year you already have some on hand. I almost always have a bag of cranberries in my freezer.
- 1 can cranberry sauce (whole or jellied)
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Mix all of the ingredients well.
- Serve as is or heated.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 110Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 3mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 24gProtein: 1g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.