Fermented Citrus Cranberry Sauce

Fermented Citrus Cranberry Sauce

Do you want to introduce fermented foods to your family but are afraid to freak them out?  This dish is great to bring to a gathering.  You don’t even have to tell them it’s fermented until after they try it.  It’s just slightly cultured so the lactic acid sour taste isn’t overwhelming.  This doesn’t taste like sauerkraut or dill pickles, it just tastes like a fresh cranberry sauce with a bit of fizz.

This sauce can be made unfermented too.  Just leave out the fermenting step.

Serve it as a side or on top of your meat.  It accompanies turkey, pork and lamb very deliciously. Adding a fermented food to your protein heavy plate helps aid digestion too.

Fruit ferments are high in sugar and can become alcoholic fast.  Only ferment for 1 day and eat within 4 weeks to avoid it going to alcohol.  For more tips about fermenting fruit see this post: Let’s Get Fruity! How to Ferment Fruits.

Fermented Spiced Mandarin Cranberry Chutney


  • 3 cups chopped cranberries (about 24 oz)
  • 1 cup chopped Mandarin orange slices
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • pinch of clove
  • 5 gms salt
  • 1/8 tsp Caldwell's Vegetable Starter
  • 1/2 cup honey (or your sweetener of choice)
  • In a food processor or blender, roughly chop cranberries and Mandarin slices.


  1. Mix in all remaining ingredients except honey. You'll want to end up with 4 cups total. If you end up with a little more, save it and use it to flavor kombucha or water kefir. If it's less than 4 cups, add more cranberries.
  2. Pour into a 1L jar. I recommend these jars from Primal Kitchen. If using a jar with a water airlock, don't forget to fill the airlock with water. Scrap sides so no fruit is clinging to the sides. Smooth out the top and seal up tight.
  3. Let set at room temperature for 24 hours (less time if your house is warmer than 72F).
  4. Store in the fridge until ready to eat. Use within 4 weeks.
  5. Add honey (or sweetener of choice) in needed just prior to serving.

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13 comments to Fermented Citrus Cranberry Sauce

  • Lesli Cryer

    Do you know if this can be made without the vegetable starter? Sounds delicious!!

  • Lesli Cryer

    One more question… is the honey only added right before serving? It says add “more” honey.

    • Just add more honey if it’s needed. It might be too tart for your taste. Yes, you can make it without the Caldwell’s starter, it just has a higher chance of getting alcoholic. I would just make sure not to let it set out too long and eat it up quickly.

  • Hi, is whey or sourkraut juice would be a good substitute for Caldwell starter I wonder? I know that whey can make stuff slimey… What do you reckon?

    • Hi Julia,

      I would just leave out any starter. Whey and sauerkraut would add an taste to the sauce that I can’t imagine would be good, lol! It also make the ferment skip steps. It’ll ferment just fine without the starter.

  • Lucy

    Question about mandarin oranges. Are you talking about fresh, or the canned kind?

  • Laura

    I’m so excited to find your site, but especially this recipe! I had been planning to make a cranberry-citrus sauce (a friend made one that I loved) for holiday dinners, and just this last week I’ve been learning about and quickly becoming obsessed with natural fermenting. So combining these two things make me happy. woo!

    I have a question about the honey as well, though… The instructions say “Mix in all remaining ingredients except honey.” I’m not clear on when in the process you add the honey — is it only before serving? (The instructions for that step say “more honey”.) And even at that late stage, do the honey’s antibacterial properties affect the good bacteria we want in the sauce?

    Thank you! 🙂

    • Thanks for pointing that out! That’s what happens when I make a recipe a few times and tweak it. I miss changing some of the steps. I do leave the honey out until before serving just because it keeps it from going alcoholic so quickly. Thanks for pointing that out! But you can add it at the beginning, just be aware there could be some alcohol in there.

      I’ve used honey in ferments a few times and have never had a problem with the antibacterial properties affecting the ferment, either when it’s added at the beginning or at the end. I’m not sure exactly how it works but it seems to be fine. Mead is made with honey super easily.

  • Colleen

    I used to put the whole cranberries in water hot enough to pop them and then pack the popped cranberries into a glass jar with raisins and orange zest, etc. and make sure the whole thing was covered with its own liquid, perhaps topping it up a bit if it wasn’t. Put the lid on and let it sit on counter. I don’t ever recall it getting alcoholic but we ate it fairly quickly and there were enough raisins to sweeten it.

  • JoAnn

    This sounds great and I can do it with everything I have on hand. I am so excited!mthank you for being here and sharing.

  • shannon

    Thanks for the recipe! Made this last week and have been mixing it in my morning yogurt for the last couple days. Time to make another batch. Think I’ll do a half gallon instead of a quart.

  • Chelsea

    Just did a double batch of this recipe, then stuffed into my pickle-it jars and set inside cupboard… I do wonder though, whether I should wait longer than 24 hrs since my house is like 65 degrees?

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