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  • Polish Mama Cooks

Cranberry sauce with Orange Juice

What do you think about, when you hear cranberry sauce? Is it Thanksgiving? Christmas? Winter? All the above?

The thought of cranberry sauce takes me back to a beautiful town in southern Polish mountain called Zawoja (an amazing village, especially during winter). At the top of the ski slope “Mosorny Groń” - Baca (polish mountaineer that is in charge of the sheep grazing) makes REAL OSCYPEK (sheep cheese) on a grill and serves it with beautiful cranberries sauce on top! This is the best Polish snack I have ever eaten!

For me and maybe for some of you making cranberries is a sign of winter and holidays rapidly approaching. So, today I would like to share my recipe for this amazing side dish not only great with turkey. This one is made with orange juice and zest with a “splash” of bourbon.

I remember my mom and dad preparing different preserves before winter. We would collect jars throughout the year and then go to the farmers market, buy a lot of different fruits and vegetables, and spend a day or two making jams and pickled vegetables. This was the best way to keep the summer flavors for winter and also preserve winter flavors for longer.

We used pasteurization of jars to prevent the products from spoiling quickly. That is why besides sharing with you the recipe for this amazing cranberry sauce I also want to teach you the technique that will help you keep your jams and preserves safe for a long time.


Ready in 35 - 45 min (including the time to pasteurize the jars for preserving the sauce) + cooling time.



  • 32 oz of cranberries (fresh or frozen)

  • 1 cup of bourbon

  • 2 1/2 cup of sugar

  • 1 tbsp of agave syrup

  • 1/4 tsp of salt

  • 1/2 nutmeg

  • 1 cup of orange juice (freshly squeezed)

  • 1/2 cup of dry cranberries

  • 1 stick of cinnamon

For preserving them for later

  • Two 16 oz jars (0,5 l)


Making the sauce

  1. Wash the cranberries, dry them on a towel and pick through them, throwing away those that are very black and look old.

  2. Wash, zest (into a bowl), cut it in half and squeeze out the orange juice.

  3. Place the cranberries in a big saucepan (I like to use a dutch oven) and put it on a medium heat.

  4. Add bourbon, half of the sugar, orange juice and zest, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.

  5. Mix everything, cover and let it simmer for 25 min until all is mixed together and the cranberries are soft.

  6. After 25 min taste and check for sweetness if it is too sour add the left 1 cup of sugar. For more texture add the dry cranberries and the agave syrup. Leave to simmer it for 10 -15 min.


  1. In a pot (or electric kettle) boil water.

  2. Pour the water on the washed, clean jars and lids- be careful. DO NOT BURN YOURSELF! Let them cool down for a minute or two.

  3. Put the HOT cranberry sauce into the jars, close them and put them upside down, until they cool down. This way you can keep them for a couple of months.

  4. If you want to make more preserves and keep it for the whole winter - put the tightly closed jars filled with preserves into a large pot, with a cotton or linen cloth on the bottom.

  5. Pour water onto the jars (approximately 3/4 of the height of the jars). Use warm water if the jars with preserve are warm. Heat everything up.

  6. Bring it to boil, reduce the heat, cover the pot with a lid. A jar (0.5 l) requires 20 minutes of pasteurization; after this time, let them cool down in the pot.


  1. Remember to first zest then squeeze all citrus fruits, it is very hard to do it the other way round.

  2. You can use OJ (orange juice) from the cartoon/ bottle, however I prefer freshly squeezed since it does not contain extra sugar.

  3. The amount of sugar that you add depends on you and your taste buds. Five minutes before the end check for taste and add sugar if you think it is too sour.

  4. The easiest way to pasteurize the jars with boiling water is to put them in the clean sink and pour the water over them.


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