Cranberry Sauce with Lemon and Maple Syrup

When I was growing up, each year my family planned a vacation around history and food, two subjects I always loved. On these road trips I started collecting regional cookbooks and what every boy my age obsessed over…Matchbox Cars.

As the Thanksgiving holiday nears, I anticipate the wonderful Cranberry Sauce with Lemon and Maple Syrup I’m soon to make. And I fondly look back on an autumn family trip to historic Plymouth, Massachusetts. Here we visited the Pilgrim settlements and toured a replica of the Mayflower…boy, those folks were short, even at my youthful age I would have had a problem squeezing into one of those bunks! But my favorite stop on this particular adventure was at the Cranberry Bog. We had finished the history portion of our trip and now for the food segment…hooray.

Seeing cranberries in their natural state was impressive. I was amazed at these red little gems that floated in swamp-like ponds or bogs and was thrilled when they gave me a rake to harvest a handful. The natural color was beautiful and of course I popped a few into my mouth surprised of their crazy tartness. I grew to know the cranberry very well. Over the years I strung miles and miles of them with popcorn which were used for garlands around the holidays. And of course cranberries always made an appearance at the Thanksgiving table.

Enough looking back on my boyhood cranberry moments. Here’s to the moments ahead. This recipe is a great addition to your Thanksgiving table. And when you’re considering big bird leftovers take a bit of cranberry sauce and butter––a 2/3 to 1/3 ratio––and make a rich smear. This is the perfect accompaniment for a cold turkey sandwich the next day! You may never use mustard again.

Holiday cranberry sauce

This recipe uses real maple syrup!

Cranberry Sauce with Lemon and Maple Syrup

Makes 2 cups


zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons real maple syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 – 12 oz. bag of fresh cranberries (rinsed well and drained)


In a heavy, medium sized saucepan, heat the water, lemon juice, zest, sugar, maple
syrup and salt over medium heat, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes until the sugar dissolves. Add the cranberries and bring to a boil, turn the heat down to simmer. Add the cinnamon and simmer on low heat until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens, stirring often.  Cool and taste, stir in more sugar if desired.  Serve chilled or at room temperature.

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