Thanksgiving:  The Red Berries are Coming

Thanksgiving: The Red Berries are Coming

Cooked cranberries
The cranberries are cooked down until they pop. For a thicker sauce continue cooking.

Yes, it’s true…I’m Canadian and Thanksgiving happened last month, but I live here now and the only real Thanksgivings I have ever celebrated are American Thanksgivings because it’s just not such a big deal in Canada.  What is a big deal is having this cranberry sauce at our table every year.

All Versions of Thanksgiving

We have had some great vegetarian Thanksgivings.   We have made the pilgrimage with a million other tired people rushing from work to beat the traffic from Boston to New York only to be stuck next to each other because it’s raining and Bostonians drive 2 miles an hour max when it rains.  And now that we have young kids and have realized we’d much rather cook than drive, we host Thanksgiving:  vegetarian sides, non-vegetarian turkey, cranberries, and pies.

Sugar and cloves for the cranberry sauce
Sugar and cloves for the cranberry sauce

A Little Project

What I’ve learned about holidays and parties when you have young children is that everything takes longer.  So I have started planning now.  We have most of the place cards done from several years back when I painted ceramic tiles with my daughter at Made By Me.  I taped out everyone’s initial on a tile and gave my daughter fall colours which she painted all over them.  I peeled off the tape and left them to be glazed and voila we have permanent coasters and place tiles for Thanksgiving.

jars of cranberry sauce
Finished jars of cranberry sauce. Some for the Thanksgiving feast and others to give as gifts.

I’ve been flipping through all my old and new cooking magazines and I think I have found most of my recipes…you always have to plan for the meals for the day before, morning of, and days after though…I’ll get to that later.  This year I think I’m going to photocopy all my recipes and put them in a folder so I don’t drive myself crazy with a pile of magazines and cookbooks.

Cranberry Sauce Recipes & More

In the next couple of weeks I will share some of my favourite recipes.  The first, is a cranberry sauce that I make every year.  It’s great with the turkey and even better for the turkey sandwiches.  It comes from my mom’s cookbook that I’ve had on loan for the past 10 years or so:  Classic Canadian Cooking:  Menus for the Seasons by Elizabeth Baird.  You can get your Butter Brook Farm cranberries delivered from In Season.  They are wild foraged and are $11 for one pound.

Thanksgiving: Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 3 cups

Serving Size: 2 TBSP

Thanksgiving: Cranberry Sauce

Simple cranberry sauce. This one is not a thick jelly. If you want a thicker cranberry sauce cook it down for at least 15 minutes.


  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 2 whole cloves
  • zest of 1/4 orange (in slivers)
  • 4 cups cranberries


  1. Combine sugar, water,port, and cloves in a saucepan. 
  2. Sliver the orange zest into very fine pieces and add to the saucepan.
  3. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  4. Remove the cloves. 
  5. Add the cranberries and simmer uncovered until they pop, about 5-7 minutes. 
  6. Pour into a serving dish or three 8 oz hot sterilized jars. 
  7. Seal jars with melted paraffin wax. 


There are about 3 cups in 1 lb so you'll need 2 packs of cranberries. Use the rest as a garnish for your cranberry martinis.

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ready to make cranberry sauce
Ready to make cranberry sauce.

Bon appetit.  ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)

For more info: Elizabeth BairdButter Brook FarmHand foraged cranberries, In Season

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