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Fermented Cranberry Sauce

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Fermented Cranberry Sauce - www.ohlardy.com

Cranberry sauce…a ubiquitous condiment on most holiday tables.  It seems to pair so well with the usual holiday fixings…turkey, ham, green beans, mashed potatoes.  Everyone helps themselves to a small amount of cranberry sauce, but no one ever really seems to love it.  Wait until they try this recipe for fermented cranberry sauce!

I was honestly a little surprised by how good this sauce tastes.  When I had the mixture pureed and was setting it aside to ferment, I really did not have high hopes.  It looked sort of weird…pink and frothy.  I figured I was just going to chalk this up to an experiment.  However, once the sauce ferments for 2 days, it takes on a dark red color and is full of sweet, sour and spicy flavors.

The batch I made for this post I thought would be for Thanksgiving.  I do not think this will still be around as we will have gobbled it all up by then!  Looks like I need to make more!


A small serving can give your family trillions of units of good bacteria to your family's digestive systems!  This is really a delicious way to sneak some probiotic goodness onto your holiday table.  And it tastes great, of course!

Cranberries are rich in vitamin C, fiber and manganese.  They are very high in phytonutrients and are thought to be very anti-inflammatory.  They are ranked towards the top of the list of berries that have anti-oxidant properties and are said to be helpful to our cardiovascular system, protect against cancer and contain enzymes that help with digestion.

Wow!  All that from a little, sour, red berry!  Ferment these guys and you have made them even more beneficial to your health: adding vitamins, increasing enzyme activity and adding good bacteria to help your digestive tract.

I received this recipe from a fellow Certified Healing Foods specialist and tweaked it just a bit.  Enjoy some fermented cranberry sauce this holiday season!

If your family isn't 100% sold on fermented foods yet, this is a very easy recipe to hide.  Mix half your usual cranberry sauce recipe with this fermented cranberry sauce!  Never know the difference! 😉  But, this recipe tastes so delicious you probably won't have to do that.

Does the topic of fermenting baffle you?  We created a Fermenting eCourse just for you and when you sign up, we will send you a Quick Start Guide!  Grab the eCourse and the guide here!

Mix together cranberries, pecans, honey, salt, whey/starter, apple juice, cinnamon, cloves (optional) and citrus juice.  I don't love the taste of clove, so I omitted.  It's up to you!

Add to a Vitamix or food processor.  Pulse until desired consistency. I like to leave some chunks of cranberries.  You can puree as much or as little as you like.

Stir in raisins and transfer mixture to a 1 quart size mason jar.  Add filtered water (or more apple juice) if necessary to leave 1 inch headroom.  Cover and leave at room temperature for 48 hours.  Be sure to place your jar on a plate or a tray while fermenting in case juices escape.  Also, OPEN WITH CARE!  Gases do build up during fermentation.

Transfer to refrigerator and use within 2 months.

Fermented Cranberry Chutney

This is delicious at the holidays in lieu of traditional cranberry sauce. It is also tasty over yogurt.


  • 3 cups fresh cranberries 1 bag
  • 1/2 cup pecans optional
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup of whey OR 1/2 cup filtered water with 1/2 tsp Culture Starter
  • 1/2 cup apple juice original recipe called for apple cider
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove optional
  • Juice from 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup raisins.


  • Mix all ingredients (except raisins) together.
  • Put into a food processor or vitamix and lightly pulse until the desired consistency. I make mine medium chunky.
  • Stir in raisins.
  • Add mixture to a 1 quart mason jar.
  • Add filtered water if need to leave about 1 inch headroom.
  • Tighten lid and leave at room temperature for 48 hours to ferment.
  • Refrigerate and use within 2 months.


This recipe could easily be halved and fermented in a pint size jar.
I think orange peel would be a delicious addition, but have not tried that yet.


Fermented Cranberry Sauce - www.ohlardy.com

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  1. Such a sneaky way to add some good bacteria to the dinner table. I love it! I may try this myself, but definitely won’t tell anyone. They already think I’m weird for letting grains “grow” on the counter!

    1. Yes, I understand about the ‘weird’ factor! I don’t always like to hide things…but sometimes you got to do what you got to do! Enjoy the cranberry sauce!

    1. I never have luck with fruit ferments without a starter of some kind (whey, powdered culture starter, etc). You could also use kombucha tea as a starter. Or maybe you could try a mixture of lemon juice and raw apple cider vinegar (never have done that, so just throwing out a thought…).
      It might work just fine with salt and lemon, but I have never done that.

    1. I have had success with previously frozen blueberries and raspberries when fermenting. I would think thawed out cranberries would be fine. Let me know how it turns out!

  2. Where can I buy whey or starter? The only place I checked that knew what I was talking about was Whole Foods and they had lost their supplier for starter a few months ago.

    1. I added links to whey and starter culture in the post. You can easily make whey by straining plain yogurt. We have a post about that. Click ‘whey’ in the recipe. I like Body Ecology vegetable culture starter. Click ‘culture starter’ in the recipe. I usually add links in the post, but I must have forgotten with the craziness of the holidays!!! Good luck!

  3. This looks great! I’m new to the site so I’m not sure if this info is already somewhere. All I have is raw honey. Will it kill the good bacteria and prevent fermenting?

  4. TamaraThis looks so delicious….Do you know if the culture starter is casein free? My son can’t have the whey because of it. Thanks

    1. I am not entirely sure. Here is the faq section of body ecology’s site. http://bodyecology.com/faqproducts.php#kefir
      They usually respond quickly to emails too.

      There’s also this starter culture. http://www.wisechoicemarket.com/caldwells-starter-culture-vegetables/

      If you are not able to use culture starter you could use the liquid from any fermented food/drink…sauerkraut, kombucha tea, etc. Or a probiotic capsule or 2 (empty the contents into the food to be fermented) if there is one that he can use. We wrote a post about that type of thing.


      Good luck!

  5. I have never fermented before…er…at least, um…not on purpose…there was a marinara incident not long ago…Anyways, I have a cranberry chutney recipe similar to this that I love, so I think I will give it a try. I am hoping to start my first homemade yogurt this month, so I will save some whey from that and see what happens. Thanks for posting.

  6. I just made this and it’s sitting to ferment now. I sneaked a taste and wow it’s good! Salty, sweet, sour, tart. I can’t wait to taste it all bubbly and full of probiotic goodness! And, I might have to make another batch before Thanksgiving b/c I’m sure I’ll eat it all. I added the orange zest as you suggested (very good!), and did half honey/half maple syrup. Also, half cloves, half allspice (in addition to the cinnamon). Different and very good.

  7. I have only fermented my own yogurt using the Yogourmet Yogurt Starter. Could I use this as my starter, or does it have to be Body Ecology’s Vegetable Starter? Thanks!

  8. since my husband does not care for raisins, i substituted dried currants for the raisins and got a *delightful* ferment. very good. i made another few jars after Christmas last year when the rest of the cranberries when on super sale and it was lovely addition to yogurt or as a topping on sourdough pancakes during the rest of winter.

  9. Mine isn’t ferment-y. It’s sat out now for 1 day and smells great but it doesn’t look like it’s getting bubbly. Did I do something wrong perhaps? I used goats yogurt whey and raw honey, omitted the nuts and cloves but other than that I followed the recipe. Thoughts would be appreciated!

  10. Hi I’ve made this & it looks gorgeous but I’m new to fermenting. I was wondering is it meant to smell like alcohol? Also it tastes quite acidic is that normal? It’s been fermenting for 48hrs & I used sauerkraut juice as a starter. Thank you

    1. It shouldn’t smell too alcoholic but will be sour and pungent. Using sauerkraut juice as a starter will add a sauerkraut flavor which is probably the acidic taste you are tasting. If it is too acidic add more maple syrup or a good sugar for serving. Mine is generally sweet and sour mix (sour like a cranberry is sour not a lemon).

  11. Hi! I want to make this as I’ve always fallen into the “bleah” category you discribed unless its the Ocean Spray smooth Cranberry sauce – I know – not so healthy and I can’t have it anymore anyway. I know yeast needs sugar to feed on and that’s about the extent of my experience and where this question is coming from- If I get Xyla Honey (no “real” sugar but Xylitol from birch trees) or use Xyla Maple syrup (a commenter used Maple syrup and it worked well, I have Xyla Maple Syrup), will the fermenting work or does it need the sugar to feed on from either “regular” Honey or Maple Syrup (I do have some good quality Real Maple Syrup)? There are several diabetics at the holiday table and I’m trying to make diabetic friendly recipes.

    Very interesting that fermenting not only ups all the vitamins and nutritional/probiotics of the foods, but also lowers the sugar content. Awesome way to still eat fruits, up the nutritional benefits, and lower the blood sugar affecting aspects!

    Thank you for all your educational information and recipes. I really appreciate it!

    Sherrie Lee

    1. No, the bacteria needs a food source to feed on and xylitol is not a food source for bacteria. The bacteria eat much of the maple syrup and the sugars naturally present in the cranberries, etc. so the finished product will not have the same amount of sugar as you started with. You could leave out the additional syrup and just rely on the natural sugars in the cranberries, apple cider, etc. But fermentation requires the starches/sugars as a food source for the good bacteria! Hope you enjoy it!!!

  12. You say in the recipe to tighten the lid on the mason jar, but my husbands seems to think that could possibly cause the jar to bust. Can you weigh in?

    1. Gases do build up but I have never had a jar bust, ever. Sometimes liquid seeps out of the top of the jar so placing the jar on a plate or something will catch any drips. Don’t overly tighten the lid, just screw the lid on normally.

  13. Hi! So I “followed” your recipe… Well to my ability. I omitted the raisins and used fresh squeezed citrus juice in place of all apple juice ( I used a little but didn’t have enough on hand). It’s been 2 days, and I’m a little curious, my berries are floating to the top and there is a white sediment on the bottom… Seen this before? I’m prego so nervous to try a fermented product if it grew something other then what it is suppose too lol.

    1. White sediment is normal as that is a by product of fermentation. Did you puree the berries first in a food processor or blender or are your berries whole? The fresh squeezed citrus should work fine but by removing the apple juice and raisins, you removed quite a bit of sugar, which is food for the bacteria. What type of citrus juice did you use?

  14. I’ve made this over and over. Try using curry as the seasoning with cardamom and minced dried apricots. Fantastic! For the starter, a little juice from fermented pickles is just fine. This recipe is a good guideline to be creative.

  15. Do I need to weigh down the cranberries so they stay below the juice? Or is that not a concern here? I’ve weighed down my sauerkraut…I’m wondering why/why not I wouldn’t also need to weigh down the berries.

  16. I used a pinch or two of ground cloves. I reduced my raw apple cider on the stove because I was looking for a deep flavor in my relish and a syrupy consistency. I used frozen concentrate orange juice (1 TBS) instead of orange juice, for the same reason. And instead of juice from a lemon, I used grated lemon peel. Also, I chopped the raisins because I really like chopped raisins 🙂

  17. …served this for Thanksgiving yesterday and WOW! is it good! I am so happy to have some left over. I ate some mixed with (Nancy’s brand) cultured cottage cheese for breakfast. : ) Thank you, Tamara! I bought a bag of organic cranberries which was only 10 ounces (a scant 3 cups) but used the same amount of everything else. It was a bit more liquid-y than yours appears in the photos, but still delicious. I used raw local honey and did include the “optional” pecans and cloves. I had Body Ecology Culture Starter on hand, so that is what I used. I wanted to try it with apple cider, but our store didn’t have any in stock… Next time!

  18. Even though Thanksgiving is over I want to try and make this. Can I use a probiotic powder or capsule? I have the garden of life raw probiotics 400 billion count powder or the garden of life 90 billion capsule.

  19. I made fermented cranberries for Thanksgiving, and we were all so impressed with how good they were! I don’t think I’ll ever go back to regular cranberry sauce after that.

  20. I used maple syrup as a vegan option and used a couple of tablespoons of my water kefir as the culture. I think I will make a batch with my kombucha also to taste the difference in the flavors of the cultures. I have made this recipe for several years, but this is my first year making it as a vegan. In the past, I would strain some yogurt to get the whey for the culture. I’m curious whether I could do the same with a vegan yogurt option such as coconut yogurt. I might try that too.
    Thanks so much for this amazing recipe! It has been loved and devoured by everyone I’ve shared it with.

  21. Hi not sure if this is the correct place to mention that I cannot access the Free eCourse + Quick Start Guide. I keep getting this message in red:
    Oops! It looks like there was an error: There was an error with your submission: There was an error refreshing your access token. If this issue persists, please register a new intergration with Infusionsoft.
    Where do I go from here.
    Regards Frances from South Africa

  22. Made this for Thanksgiving last month and loved it! Everyone else did too. We used dried cranberries instead of raisins, and left out the citrus juice (I actually did not realize it called for that until now), but used the zest of one orange. Planning to make again for Christmas, but am going to try adding some quince. TBD how I’m going to cook that first, but am determined to make it work! Might use half cider and half water this time, the honey made it plenty sweet.

    Thanks for the awesome, healthy recipe! We’ll probably be making it for years to come.

  23. Love your recipes! I made this with whey strained from yogurt. It has a strong alcohol smell. Does that mean it didn’t turn out and I should toss it? I’m not sure how to know when ferments don’t turn out and don’t want to get sick. Thanks!

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