Cranberry Sauce with Apples and Ginger (Paleo, AIP, GAPS)

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cranberry sauce served in a white bowl with some orange zest sprinkled on top

“Red is the color of life.”
~ Mary Hogan

Cranberry Lover

I grew up on Cape Cod, and maybe that explains my love of cranberries. Even as a child with a crazy sweet tooth, I still liked the tart taste of those berries. I was first introduced to cranberry sauce at the Thanksgiving table, when my mother served it from a can. You know the kind: it released onto the plate with a distinctive suction sound, gloriously red with no sign of actual berries. I loved it! As I got older, I started buying cans of whole berry cranberry sauce. When I embarked on a healing diet, I switched to homemade. Why did I wait so long?! Cranberry sauce is incredibly easy to make, and puts all canned sauces to shame.


I also think it deserves a place on your table year-round, not just at Thanksgiving. It makes a great side dish or sauce any time of year. In addition to being delicious, it’s incredibly good for you. Dr. Terry Wahls recommends we eat berries every day.

Here are some reasons to eat cranberries, specifically:

  • They contain unique compounds called proanthocyanidins, which can prevent harmful bacteria from causing infections. Most famously, cranberries are noted for preventing urinary tract infections, but research suggests they might also prevent h.pylori overgrowth as well.
  • Cranberries have five different types of phytonutrients. In addition to giving them their vibrant red color, they have substantial health benefits for us, and research shows you need to eat the whole berries (not pills or extracts) to get the benefits.
  • They have numerous anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects body wide, which supports the health of every cell in our body.
  • They have numerous digestive benefits: soothing our gums, stomach and colon lining, and also increasing the balance of good bacteria in our digestive tract.
  • They have numerous cardiovascular benefits: lowering blood pressure, preventing atherosclerosis, and balancing cholesterol.
  • Last but not least, there are 5 different ways they work to prevent cancer in the body.
  • If that doesn’t make you want to eat them more than once a year, I don’t know what will!

adapted from Nourished and Nurtured

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Cranberry Sauce with Apples and Ginger | Phoenix Helix

Cranberry Sauce with Apples and Ginger (Paleo, AIP, GAPS)

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  • Author: Eileen Laird
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 10 oz. frozen cranberries
  • 2 medium apples, peeled & chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. finely grated fresh ginger (I like this ginger grater)
  • zest of 1 orange
  • a light sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • juice from lemon wedge


  1. Combine all ingredients except the lemon juice in a medium pot.
  2. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. The cranberries will start to break down.
  3. Taste test, and if it’s too tart, add a little more honey.
  4. Add the lemon juice, stir and cook 1 more minute.
  5. Cool and serve! How's that for easy?
  • Prep Time: 9 minutes
  • Cook Time: 21 minutes
  • Category: Side Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop

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Credit: recipe photograph taken by Christina Feindel

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15 comments on “Cranberry Sauce with Apples and Ginger (Paleo, AIP, GAPS)”

  1. Thanks for this recipe. I grew up on the west coast of BC, also near where cranberries are now commercially grown but whether or not they were grown commercially when I was a child I don’t know. My Mom made her own cranberry sauce … I had never seen canned sauce until I was an adult. lol

    1. Ironically, I grew up on Cape Cod which is famous for cranberries and there was a cranberry bog down the street. But my Mom always bought the canned sauce that was smooth and solid like jello! This is soooooo much better.

  2. Hi Eileen, thank you for sharing this recipe. About how many servings does this recipe yield? Trying to figure out if I need to double the batch for Thanksgiving. Thanks!

    1. Hi Lucy. I’m sorry for the delayed reply. I was out of town and offline for Thanksgiving. It’s hard to judge servings on cranberry sauce. I love it so much that I could eat the whole batch myself, but some people take just a small spoonful, especially at the buffet that is Thanksgiving. For a big group, I double it. For a small group, a single batch is enough.

  3. After the less than enthused result of the last cranberry sauce I made for Thanksgiving, I decided to use the cranberries I had leftover for this recipe, not willing to make the same mistake twice at Christmas. This was just what I was looking for. I too love the addition of the ginger and apples! It’s fresh, light, not overly bitter or sweet, an overall wonderful combination of flavor, and YES, simple. Thank you. This is my “go to” recipe now.

  4. I knew they had health benefits, but everything you wrote opened my eyes all the more! Thanks for sharing this at the Healthy Tuesday hop, Phoenix. 🙂

  5. This is my kinda recipe, Eileen. Love, love. I am such a huge fan of adding ginger to cranberry sauce. Such a pretty recipe for the season!
    I make a fig jelly with ginger that’s so yummy.
    Have a great week.

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