College Cookbook Thanksgiving Edition: Lost in the sauce – a simple recipe for homemade cranberry sauce

Photo credit: Jian Bautista

Throughout my childhood, cranberry sauce was always an integral focal point at each Thanksgiving celebration. Growing up in a family that spent countless hours each summer picking berries for Thanksgiving, it was not only important that our cranberry sauce be homemade, but also that it was made with wild Alaskan cranberries.

Being lucky enough to live on land that produced an abundance of multiple kinds of berries (blueberries, highbush cranberries, lowbush cranberries to name a few) my family liked to incorporate that into our Thanksgivings.

While traditionally reserved for Thanksgiving, cranberry sauce is simple to make and can be a festive addition to many occasions, and leftover cranberry sauce can be repurposed in many different ways, such as in muffins or as an ice cream topping.

My family’s personal favorite recipe for cranberry sauce comes from the “Alaska Wildberry Guide & Cookbook” published by Alaska Northwest Books in 1982.




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Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce



  • 6 cups lowbush cranberries
  • 4 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup water



  1. Blend together all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a full, rolling boil.
  2. Boil until a little of the juice will jell on the spoon, approximately 25 minutes.
  3. Pour into a dish to chill before serving, or pour into sterilized jelly glasses and seal.
  4. In the absence of wild lowbush cranberries, store bought frozen cranberries work just as well. The important part is to have fun and enjoy some tasty tart cranberry goodness!