Recipe: Cultured Cranberry Sauce

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As a kid sitting around the Thanksgiving table I loved the site of the turkey as it was being carved, the clanging of dishes as friends and family scooped up heavenly mashed potatoes and warm, comforting gravy and the smell of freshly warmed rolls smothered in butter. But, I always had to hold my breath when the cranberry sauce was passed around. I think I was afraid that if I breathed wrong, somehow, that gelatinous, extra-terrestial-looking thing would somehow end up on my dinner plate. And I didn't want any of it.

I was kind of a dramatic kid...

But, seriously, I still can't stand cranberry sauce. At least not this stuff. Uck. Gag-o-maggot. No thank you. Good night.

All that being said, I never used to like cranberries at all because I associated them with that amorphous creature that hung out at my Thanksgiving table with all it's delicious-looking friends. 

Thankfully I am no longer a child and now I know that, truly, fresh cranberries are wonderful. They are tart and delicious, full of nutrients and flavor, and truly beautiful. 

This recipe I am sharing with you is my own version of one I found last year. I promise you have never had anything like it. It is ah.may.zing.  I eat it straight out of the jar, with yogurt and syrup, with nuts, on sandwiches, and of course with turkey, stuffing and gravy. It is full of delicious, probiotic goodness. 

Cultured Cranberry Sauce

You Will Need:

  • 4 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raw honey (Where to buy.)
  • 1 tsp sea salt (Where to buy.)
  • 1/4 cup whey (Learn how to make it here.)
  • 1/2 cup raw apple juice or apple cider
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • juice of 1 small orange
  • blender
  • quart mason jar and lid (Where to buy.)

Directions: Juice your lemon and orange. Set juice aside. Combine all other ingredients into a blender. Turn on blender and pulse a few times. Add just enough lemon and orange juice to make four cups of chunky sauce (Note: depending on the size of your lemon and orange, this might be all of your juice, or it might not.). Continue pulsing your ingredients, pausing every once in a while to use a spatula to scrape the sides, until your sauce is a texture you like (I prefer 'slightly chunky'). Place your sauce into a quart-sized mason jar (leaving 1/2 inch headspace). Leave out on counter for 24-48 hours. Store in the refrigerator. Should be used within 2 months. 

A few notes: 1) As with all things fermented you will want to check your jar occasionally to make sure it is not building up too much pressure. If you cannot press down on the lid at all, open it slightly to release some air. Be careful when doing this, though, as some juice might try to escape. 2) It might be helpful to know that when you first finish blending your sauce it will be a very pale pink color and quite frothy. After sitting for a while it turns a dark, gorgeous, vibrant red. 3) One more interesting thing of note: the first time I made this recipe the juice and berries did not separate, the second time they did. Not sure what made the difference.... But, this time around I merely made sure to mix it up before I served it. It tasted just as delicious.

From now on I will eat cranberry sauce (and lots of it!) at every Thanksgiving dinner we have. And I will probably make it for Christmas, too. :)

Do you like cranberry sauce? What's your favorite way to enjoy it?

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  1. Admittedly, cultured things scare me. I hate sour kraut. I hate things that smell rotten. But berries and cranberries are intriguing me. I may have to work up the courage for this one! Will pin it for later.

  2. Fresh cranberries are so beautiful. I bet this was tasty. The collection of flavors and spices sound yummy.

  3. Can it be made without whey?

    1. I believe it could. I haven't personally tried that, but with most things fermented that call for whey you can leave the whey out if you use a bit more salt. I also might let it ferment longer as whey is a starter.

      Good luck! Let me know how it turns out. :)

  4. Yum, perfect timing! Thanksgiving planning here!

  5. I love lacto-fermented cranberry sauce! Never going back-- it's so good! I like to use a whole orange (peel and all) in mine.

  6. This is awesome! I never thought of cultured cranberry sauce before. I love homemade cranberry sauce, it's one of my favorite sides. I make mine with similar ingredients, but with cherries and apples included.

  7. I have never tried a cultured cranberry sauce before! Sounds amazing!

  8. This looks so good. I used to love to make my own cranberry sauce. Sadly, I can't find fresh (or frozen) cranberries here in Spain ever. :(
    It's the one thing my honorary Thanksgiving dinner lacks each year.

  9. Pumpkin pie spice!? Really! I'm going to have to try that.

  10. I love home cooked cranberry sauce! The store bought can of gelatinous stuff...not so much. Pinned this recipe to my "Good for you" recipe board for Thanksgiving. Thanks!

  11. We seriously need more probiotics in our diet so this looks like a great way of doing so. Thanks!


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