Banish the can (Jellied Cranberry Sauce)

I don't know how it runs in your house; but in our family, a holiday just wouldn't be a holiday unless cranberries showed up on the table in one form or another. 

Two types of cranberry sauce flit through the memories of my childhood.  The weird homemade stuff with the whole berries that one lady used to bring to our house when she came to dinner.  And the ubiquitous can of the jellied stuff. 

It must be admitted that I adored the jellied stuff in a can.  Loved. Loved. Loved.  I could scarf that stuff down like no body's business...  Sigh.

And then I grew up.  Somewhere along the way, I took a cooking class and learned the joys of cranberry relish.  At which point, I banned the can. 

The can didn't do anything wrong. But I had learned the unadulterated joy that came from working with the real thing and making my own from scratch.  There was no going back. 

However, as much as I liked the "new" there was a little corner of my self that longed - yearned - for the jellied stuff of my youth.  The smooth stuff - not the chunky. 

Thanksgiving prep list - I wouldn't be able to keep my head on if it wasn't already attached...
Well, mark down 2011 as the year that jellied cranberry sauce found its way back on the table.  But not from a can. 

If you have someone in your life who brings their own "can" to the holiday table, this one is for them... It's easy.  You can do it.  I promise.


Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Adapted from Cuisine at Home - December 2011

24 ounces (2 bags) fresh or frozen cranberries
3 cups sugar - white, granulated
1/2 cup Red Zinfandel
1/2 cup cranberry juice cocktail (I used Ocean Spray)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
Zest of one grapefruit

Thoroughly rinse cranberries.  In a large pot (mixture spatters), bring all ingredients to a boil. Boil for about seven minutes, then remove from heat. 

Press the mixture through a colander, then a sieve with a fine mesh.  (Food mill would work great here - run it through the large plate first, then the small plate). 

Transfer sauce to a mold - you will have ~3-4 cups of sauce, so size appropriately.  If you have a small serving dish with fluted sides or some other visually appealing feature that will transfer to the molded good, then use that.  Chill jellied sauce in refrigerator, until set (at least 4 hours). 

To unmold, run a thin knife around a portion of one of the edges of jellied sauce and turn directly onto the serving plate (just to break suction). 


  1. Wow. I'm just not sure WHAT I would do if someone showed up with their own can? Of course I would be as gracious as I could be. lol. How gracious that is...well...I'm just not sure how gracious I can be? lol. If only the can had these lovely zin and grapefruit notes I might be more understanding.

  2. Wine-spiked cranberry jelly - why didn't my mom ever serve that at Thanksgiving?! Now you just have to add instructions for getting the can ridges in there. :)

  3. Love the heart shape!
    The Thanksgiving holiday you guys have is something I know nothing about! But sounds like there's A LOT of food involved!!
    I totally get the canned food luv. I am very embarrassed to admit it but I had a serious crush on a Leggo's tinned bolognese sauce! For years I thought it was the best stuff ever!

  4. What a cute heart shape! I'm not sure how I feel about cranberries anymore. I used to look forward to the Thanksgiving meal just for that sauce, but we haven't had it the past couple of years and it wasn't really missed. Hmm...

  5. I always make my own cranberry sauce or cranberry relish...but I always have to open a can for my niece and her mom who only eat the canned stuff. Truth be told I love any form of cranberry sauce! Yours looks so pretty!

  6. My husband also has fond childhood memories of jelled cranberry sauce from the can. I might have to make this for him. :)


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