Homemade Cranberry Sauce with Mandarin, Pomegranate, Ginger and Honey

Hello there friends, long time no post.  Let's start today with a debate.
Canned or fresh?
That's right.  Canned or fresh cranberry sauce on your Thanksgiving table?


Honestly, is this really even worth debating?

I know there are sticklers out there who love their canned sauce.
And, admittedly, I have taken a slice of the can shaped cranberry blob in Thanksgiving past.
Yes.  Yes I have.

In my opinion cranberry sauce is an essential part of the Thanksgiving table.
It is the tart-sweet counterpart to the savory deliciousness of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy.
It is the key ingredient to the day after Thanksgiving leftover sandwich.

So yes, I have partaken in the canned shape blob.  But that was before.
Before I knew how easy it was to make your own.

It happened many a Thanksgiving ago in Hermosa Beach, in a house that had a stripper pole in the basement (just for fun.  Don't ask.) and a ladder to the attic with a very cool guest room for us girls. We decided to have a "friend Thanksgiving" the weekend before real Thanksgiving.

Lo and I brined a turkey in a cooler, the oven broke and said turkey was cooked down the street at a friend's. There were cocktails and a DJ.  It was a potluck.  And I made cranberry sauce even though I had no idea what the heck I was doing.  It was hands down the best tasting Thanksgiving meal I've ever had.  I still remember the carrots in brown sugar and butter.

The original Hermosa Beach Cranberry Sauce recipe has evolved, along with my cooking skills, into this recipe. The best part is, it's easy!  Even better - you can make it a few days in advance of Thanksgiving.  If there are leftovers (if!), it is great spread over toast with goat cheese.

So, can shaped cranberry blob or the real deal?
That's not even a question.

P.S. Mandarin's are in season!  My mom picked mine up at the Mandarin Festival.

2 12oz. bags fresh cranberries
4 mandarin oranges, peeled and sectioned
1 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/4 cup honey (I use raw)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

How to:
Add cranberries, mandarins, water and pomegranate juice to a large saucepan or pot.
Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium high heat.
Simmer until cranberries begin to pop open.
Add sugars, ginger, honey and cinnamon, stir frequently and continue cooking until well blended.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Transfer to a sealed container and keep overnight in fridge before serving.
(The sauce will seem thin at first, don't worry, it will thicken in the fridge overnight.)
You can prepare the cranberry sauce 2-3 days in advance.

Happy Turkey Day everyone!


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  1. Homemade, for sure. It was a tradition I picked up from Mark's grandmother early on in our marriage. I've come to wing it a bit each year, and just finished making mine a bit ago. This one was with lemon zest, orange juice, cinnamon stick, chopped candied ginger, honey and sugar. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

  2. Almost in tears over the memories of that Thanksgiving. Happy tears! Those were the days. And yes! That was truly one of the BEST meals ever. When the oven broke, there was doubt. Baking at a friends who wanted to get to the party and taking it out of the oven early- just to finish it on the BBQ. Wow! Creative and delicious. And you are right- fresh. No canned blob. Love you! And Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

    1. It's funny I hadn't thought of it while making the cranberry sauce....it came to my mind when I started writing. I have such great memories of that house and crowd. It was such a fun time. Love and miss you guys bunches!

  3. Looks delicious! I love cranberries.
    We're going to the bf's sister's this year. :P I'm in charge of corn casserole.

    1. Thanks! I've never had corn casserole, are you going to share your recipe? :)


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