Cranberry: Ginger Cranberry Ketchup

cinnamon ginger orange cranberry sauce ketsup

Cranberries are “the” Thanksgiving berry, even though it’s unclear that they were part of the 1621 feast shared by Native Americans and pilgrims.

The meal is believed to have included wheat, corn, barley, waterfowl, deer, fish, and wild turkey. It is certain, however, that long before white settlers arrived, Native Americans had been cultivating cranberries (and other berries) for food. So, it’s possible some of those crimson berries made an appearance.

Nonetheless, cranberries are requisite today at Thanksgiving. During this time of year – cranberries are coincidentally at their peak (October through December).

No qualms from me. I like food that’s tart and bitter and I’m a big fan of cranberries – fresh, cooked, dried and juiced. Since the 19th century, the berries have found their way in desserts, sauces, jellies, preserves and ketchup.

Yes, cranberry ketchup. This interesting tidbit caught my attention too. Apparently, it’s one of the more popular non-tomato based ketchups.

My recipe for ginger cranberry ketchup is not just novel. It’ll be a staple year-round – for your turkey sandwiches , turkey burgers, chicken and turkey tacos, etc. It has both sweet and sour notes and a little kick, if you choose to add chile. It’s easy to make and the spice blend is open to your own twist: nutmeg, cumin, and Chinese five spice.

The extra bonus here over cranberry sauce is that the vinegar in the recipe not only gives it some twang but it extends its shelf life. It’ll keep for about a month with refrigeration.

Tidbits on Cranberries:

  1. Cooking: When cooking cranberries, add sugar after they have popped to avoid tough berries.
  2. Buying: Select cranberries that are firm not shriveled or discolored. Stock up on fresh cranberries while in season (October through December).
  3. Storing: Fresh cranberries can be refrigerated for up to four weeks; frozen in plastic bags for nine months to a year. Do not wash them before storing.

Ginger Cranberry Ketchup

Makes 2 ½ cups


3 cups (12 oz. bag) fresh cranberries

1 medium white onion, diced finely

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

1 to 2 serrano chiles, deveined and stemmed, diced (optional)

Fresh orange zest (2 x ½ inch piece) or  1/4 teaspoon dried orange peel

1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar,* firmly packed

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (or 2 inch piece peeled fresh ginger – cut into coins)**

1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Rinse and sort cranberries. Set aside.
  2. In an enamel or stainless steel pot/saucepan, simmer onion, water, apple cider vinegar and chile (if using) for 10 to 15 minutes uncovered – until onions are tender. (If using fresh ginger, simmer here)
  3. Add cranberries and zest; simmer uncovered until berries burst, about 10 minutes. Discard fresh zest and ginger coins, if using fresh.
  4. Puree cranberry mixture in the food processor or blender. For a smoother ketchup – force the puree through a large sieve. Return it to the saucepan. Discard solids. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes. Adjust spices. Turn off heat and allow to cool completely.
  5. Refrigerate. Use warm or cold in place of ketchup. Keeps for about one month in an airtight container.


Spices:  nutmeg, Chinese five-spice, cumin

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12 Responses to Cranberry: Ginger Cranberry Ketchup

  1. Nicola Grun says:

    This sounds great! Just in time for next week as I’ve been tasked with making Cranberry Sauce, or Ketchup!

  2. My mouth is watering just from reading the recipe. Now if I can only find cranberries in Mexico…


  3. Susan says:

    Mmm! This would be killer on a turkey-havarti sandwich.

  4. Susan – You have telepathic powers for my after T-day posts.

  5. Lea Ann says:

    This sounds so interesting. I like the idea of the pepper and cumin. Also, I’ve never cooked cranberries and appreciate the tip of adding sugar after they break. Reaally nice to meet you at lunch today. You’ve got a great blog and I look forward to more of your posts.

  6. Kathi says:

    Andrea, this sounds so yummy. I’m buying the ingredients today and am going to make it. I’ll let you know how we like it. Thanks!

  7. Kathi. Hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving and that your son will be able to eat solids by then.

  8. Wow, this is really unusual. I’m picturing it kind of chutney-esque.

  9. Cranberries have pectin, which makes them perfect for jams, jellies, chutneys and “preserves” generally. This cranberry kethcup is much smoother than most chutneys – like ketchup. Another reason not to stock ketchup for us. We rarely use it. The husband just threw out a bottle we had for two years and I think it was still half full.

  10. Kathi says:

    Andrea, Just wanted to let you know that I finally got around to making this. Of course, after all the turkey was long gone from our house… It is amazing! I love it and am having a blast trying it on everything. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Sara says:

    This is right up my alley. I’m going to be making this recipe for my holiday dinner. Great idea!

  12. Shota says:

    My favorite semlls are cinnimon and cloves. I like to put some whole cloves and cinnimon sticks in a small pot on the stove with some water and boil. The pleasant aroma wafts through the house and it is 100% natural- no artificial chemicals needed. My favorite to bake with is peppermint. Anything with peppermint and if you combine it with chocolate so much the better. Peppermint bark is my favorite to make at Christmas time. Melt a layer of milk chocolate and let harden, melt a layer of white chocolate, mix in peppermint flavor oil and crushed peppermint candy into it and spread over chocolate layer. That’s it. You can also use the candy disks that craft stores sell. There is a white chocolate that already comes with peppermint in it. If you aren’t wanting to make it, Costco sells a big tin in the bakery area.

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