Cranberries, native to the northeastern US, may well have been on the Pilgrim’s table. Your own sauce is so easy to make a day or two ahead.

Place 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil slowly for 5 minutes. Add 2 cups fresh cranberries and bring to a slow boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes, until the cranberry skins pop. Serve warm or cold. Makes about 2 cups

To take it up a notch, try this cranberry chutney:

Makes about 6 cups

  • 1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, quartered and cored
  • 1 medium lemon, rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries (12 ounces)
  • 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  1. Chop apple into small dice, about ¼-inch. Use a vegetable peeler to trim the zest from the lemon and cut 10 or so thin julienned strips. Discard rest of zest. Trim off the ends of the lemon and cut into lengthwise quarters. Cut each quarter into thin triangular crosswise slices, discarding any seeds.
  2. Place the orange juice, cranberries, apple and lemon pieces, strips of zest and the remaining ingredients in a medium, heavy bottomed non-reactive saucepan. Stir together and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover and cook for 5 minutes or until all the cranberries have burst.
  3. Uncover the pan and simmer slowly for 4 or 5 minutes, until the chutney has thickened. Ladle hot chutney into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps. May be stored in the refrigerator for a week or so. For longer storage, process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath according to a good canning book.