Maple Cranberry Sauce

On a sunny day each September, I head out in my canoe across the waters of a local bog and park by a cranberry patch. I get out and walk carefully across the spongy mass of peat, bending down to pluck the firm, round berries from the bushes where they grow. When Mother was alive, she was my partner in this annual expedition; now, I share the experience with close friends. It generally takes me a couple of hours to get the gallon or so that I store in the freezer for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I boil most of the berries in maple syrup to make sauce to accompany holiday turkeys, but I bake some in scones, pie, or crisp. To me, the wild cranberries have a spicier, more complex taste than the cultivated variety available in grocery stores, but commercial cranberries nonetheless make a very tasty sauce.

Take 1 1/4 cup maple syrup (I prefer what used to be known as Grade B, but is now known as Grade A / Dark Robust Taste; it’s got the earthiest, richest maple flavor) and add 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons water. Bring the liquid to boil in a medium saucepan. Add 3 cups (one standard grocery store package) cranberries (whole berries, fresh or unthawed frozen) and return to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally. Check at ten-minute intervals and remove from heat when desired thickness is achieved (bearing in mind that there will be additional thickening as the sauce cools—so remove it from the heat while it’s still a bit thinner than the final consistency you want). When the sauce is cool enough to taste, check it to see if you want to add any additional syrup; if so, you may need to boil it down again because of the added liquid. Pour the sauce into a bowl, cover and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until an hour or so before serving time. And be sure to leave the lid off the pot while you’re boiling so the steam can escape. Back when Mother and I started making our own cranberry sauce, we once left the lid on the pot; it took us a couple of hours to figure out why the sauce didn’t seem to be getting any thicker!

(Photo: Wild cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon) grow in bogs in the Moosehead Lake region.)

Related Posts

Walk (vicariously) with Wendy!

Donate to Achor Earth Ways

Our mission is to to guide people into deeper, more joyful connection with nature.


Newest Blog Posts

The Eaglet Has Fledged!
September 1, 2021
The Dawn of Summer
July 8, 2021
Winter’s End – and Your Questions Answered
May 17, 2021
Signs of Spring
April 27, 2021
North Woods News Flash: The Eagle Has Landed!
April 9, 2021

American Discovery Trail

First Steps on the American Discovery Trail
March 11, 2019
red maple tree flowers
Across the Plains of Delaware
March 12, 2019
Delaware field sunrise
Crossing into Maryland
March 16, 2019
Nearing Chesapeake Bay: The Kindness of Strangers and Unexpected Challenges
March 21, 2019
Sandy Point State Park Chesapeake Bay
Across the Chesapeake: The Wild Wherever We Are, and Gratitude for Friends
March 28, 2019