Old-fashioned Spiced Cranberries

Now that cranberries are in season, I just had to try a hundred-year-old recipe for Spiced Cranberries. Spiced Cranberries are NOT like the ubiquitous cranberry sauce that seems to be everywhere each holiday season, but rather are more of a chutney with a delightful sweet-sour flavor that is a perfect accompaniment to meat or poultry.  In addition to cranberries, this recipe calls for sugar, vinegar, and a lovely mixture of fall spices (cinnamon, cloves, allspice).

Here is the original recipe:

Source: Good Housekeeping (November, 1917)

The old recipe makes a lot – and indicates that the Spiced Cranberries should be canned. I decided to make less – and purchased one 12-ounce package (about 3 cups) of fresh cranberries, and then adjusted all of the other ingredients based on the amount of cranberries. Here is the updated recipe:

Spiced Cranberries

  • Servings: about 1 pint
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1 12-ounce package (about 3 cups) fresh cranberries

1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup water

2 1/4 cups sugar

2 1/8 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon allspice

Wash cranberries, then combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat, reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 45 minutes. (Do not cover pan. This mixture boils over very easily.)  Remove from heat.  May be served either warm or cold.

29 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Spiced Cranberries

  1. I really like this recipe. I have some frozen ones left over from last year in the freezer and this is the solution that I need. I book marked this to use. Thanks for finding this recipe.

  2. I’m surprised by the amount of sugar. The relish I make only uses 1/3 to 1/2 c. honey for one bag of cranberries, and I’ve never felt the need to add more. I’d never before looked for a sugar/honey conversion chart, but I found 1/2 c. honey equals 2/3 c. sugar. Very interesting. I suppose more is needed here to balance the vinegar as well as the tartness of the berries.

    1. The conversion ratio between sugar and honey is interesting. I had never thought about the possibility of substituting one for the other in a recipe.

    1. You should give it a try. It’s easy to make. The only thing tricky about it, is that the cranberry mixture has a tendency to boil over. When I brought the cranberries to a boil, it really bubbled up. I reduced the heat some – and it still boiled very rapidly. In the end, I reduced the heat to the lowest setting on my stove, and it simmered nicely.

  3. I’ve saved this recipe and plan to make it for Thanksgiving. Usually when I find a recipe calling for fresh cranberries, fresh ones are not available. Thanks for this very timely post.

    1. You’re welcome. I saw cranberries in the store last week, and thought that it was a good time to look for a hundred-year-old cranberry recipe.

  4. I’m glad to see that you reduced the allspice down to 1 teaspoon. That spice is intense and the 1 Tablespoon in the original recipe had me worried. 😳

    1. The original recipe made a lot of spiced cranberries with the assumption that they’d be canned. I reduced the size of the recipe so that only one 12-oz. bag of cranberries was needed-and then reduced the other ingredients proportionally. I don’t think that I actually changed the ratio between allspice and the other ingredients. In any case, it seemed to work in this recipe.

    1. It’s tasty. It’s nice to hear that you liked this photo. I’m still working on my photography skills, and some pictures turn out better than others.

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