Fermented Cranberry Sauce with figs, citrus and cloves~ a lovely addition to any holiday table...or even a special condiment for sandwiches and weekday dinners, with two tips for easy fermenting.

Fermented Cranberry Sauce with maple, figs, citrus and cloves (Paleo, no refined sugar)

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This chunky condiment is not only one to make for your holiday tables, but also one to eat from the moment cranberries appear to the moment they disappear from the markets. Fermented Cranberry Sauce with maple, figs, citrus and cloves is great on sandwiches, with all meats, including salmon, with salads! It’s Paleo and has no refined sugar.

Bubbles when you ferment, they’re symbolic for how I feel: Ferments are exciting to make! I hope you’re feeling exuberant and enthusiastic about grabbing cranberries and these other ingredients and getting started on this very fun and easy ferment!

bowl of fermented cranberry sauce with figs and jars

Cranberry Sauce with figs, citrus and cloves

This is one special probiotic cranberry sauce recipe.

The odd thing about cranberries is that they lose their zing when they’re fermented. The zing (their tartness) is their nutrition, and it mellows yet amplifies, becoming more potent and digestible.

Flavor-wise we need to make cranberry ferments as exciting as the flavor of raw or cooked cranberries, because fermented berries are more nutritious!

Cranberries are super high in vitamin C, anti-flammatory in nature and high in antioxidants.

I have also added the best of all fruits to this ferment: the fig, the dried fig. The flavor and texture combo is lovely and complimentary.

This recipe also includes raisins for sweetness, citrus for zing, maple for depth and sweetness, sea salt for umami and to bless the fermentation process, and a couple of fitting spices like cinnamon and cloves. Taste the serious, intense, complex goodness — earthy, tangy, sweet.

jars and dish of fermented cranberry sauce


Whether you’ve fermented before or are new to it, the one challenge most have with the process is keeping the recipe anaerobic, which just means without air. When this or any veggie/fruit kraut is packed into jars or a fermentation crock it must be weighted down so the solids stay beneath the brine, thus preventing mold and allowing their preservation.

I have found two favorite tools to share with you that help with this challenge. The first tool is a set of simple glass weights that fit neatly and perfectly inside the mouths of mason jars. They didn’t have these when I started fermenting years ago, and they’re a wonderful, easy solution. (Find them HERE.)

The other tool I love is an affordable crock originally developed in Korea for making kimchi. It’s a rectangular vessel that has a vacuum lid inside. This lid suctions to the inside of the vessel and gets pushed beneath the brine. I make ferments continually in mine, and just walk away without worry once the ferment is packed in to age. (Find it HERE.)

Fermented Cranberry Sauce with figs, citrus and cloves~ a lovely addition to any holiday table...or even a special condiment for sandwiches and weekday dinners, with two tips for easy fermenting.

GAPS Diet, AIP, Keto and Vegan

For GAPS, there are two modifications to make to this recipe so it’s compliant:

  1. Substitute honey for the maple syrup, and omit the sauerkraut juice or whey (the honey has its own live cultures that will inoculate the ferment).
  2. Omit the cloves.

For AIP, this recipe is perfect! No changes need to be made. Simply enjoy this lively and healthy condiment.

For Keto, omit the dried fruit and maple syrup. After the ferment is complete, add stevia or monk fruit to taste, and stir well. Add more fresh lemon juice or orange rind if desired.

Yes, this recipe is Vegan also! Enjoy!

5 from 2 votes
Fermented Cranberry Sauce with figs, citrus and cloves~ a lovely addition to any holiday table...or even a special condiment for sandwiches and weekday dinners, with two tips for easy fermenting.
Fermented Cranberry Sauce
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
20 mins

Fermented Cranberry Sauce is a probiotic condiment that's easy and fun to make, and will be a special annual tradition -- because it's so good you'll want to make it again and again.

Course: condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry sauce, fermented, probiotics
Servings: 5 cups
Calories: 168 kcal
Author: Megan
  • 5 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup dried figs
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup brine from prior ferment : sauerkraut juice for AIP, or whey if dairy is tolerated
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or a cinnamon stick
  • juice 1 orange and 2 tsp. of its zest
  • juice 1 lemon and 1 tsp. of its zest
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves (so yummy!)
  1. Place cranberries into high powered blender or food processor. Pulse repeatedly until cranberries are diced and minced. Empty cranberries into medium-size fermentation crock or ceramic/glass large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Add remaining ingredients to blender, except the brine and cinnamon stick, (if using). Pulse until ingredients are chopped small, without pureeing.
  3. Add blender contents to crock or large bowl with cranberries. Using a wooden spoon, stir in brine.
  4. Spoon sauce into sterilized jars, if not using ferment crock. Weight down, so brine rises just slightly above weight. Clean the rim and inside upper edge of jar or crock. Place lid on jar or crock.
  5. Leave at room temperature, preferably in a warm location or on a warm sprouting mat (if winter time- see Recipe notes for mat) for about 5 days. Ferment may be bubbly when complete.
  6. Refrigerate or place in cold storage. Serve over time, enjoying up to 1/4 cup with meals.
Recipe Notes

Fermentation Tools

My two favorite fermentation tools are either glass mason jar weights or the Korean-designed part-ceramic crock. Both eliminate the challenges associated with keeping your ferment under the brine. (Find the weights HERE and the crock HERE.)

A sprouting mat (find it HERE) is great for fermentation of all kinds during the colder months. It will keep your cranberry sauce warm and move the fermentation safely forward, even when the house gets cool overnight.

Nutrition Facts
Fermented Cranberry Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 168 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 476mg 20%
Potassium 293mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 43g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 26g
Protein 1g 2%
Vitamin C 1.2%
Calcium 6.3%
Iron 3.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Other sides for your holiday table?

  • Try THIS fantastic Grain-free Stuffing with Sausage (GAPS and Keto). We make it every year, and even those with a standard American diet come back for seconds.
  • Here’s my NEW AIP Stuffing recipe!!! SUPER excited about it; it’s delicious and awesome!! 😉
  • HERE’s our favorite Winter Squash OR Sweet Potato Casserole, (which can be made ahead and frozen before baking). Paleo and GAPS.

Fermented Cranberry Sauce with figs, citrus and cloves

Comments 39

  1. Oh my goodness, the flavors in this! All the maple and fig with tart cranberries and citrus, plus deep spicy notes….HEAVEN!

  2. Megan this is such a lovely idea! I love those figs in there, I would never have thought to add them, so brilliant! This is such a perfect side for the holidays. YUM!

    1. Thank you, Emily!! I love when flavors come together like this!! Cooking can be poetry! And figs are always such a muse and offer beautiful supportive character. xo!

  3. Mmmm I love homemade cranberry sauce and I’m really loving that you incorporated figs! What a fun twist on a classic!

  4. I love fermented foods, but I’ve never actually done it myself before. It’s interesting to know that you need to weigh it down into the liquid. It makes perfect sense, but something I never thought of before.

    1. I know, right? The anaerobic aspect has always been the biggest challenge; and I’m so grateful for the various fermenting tools that have been developed in the last 5 years to help with this aspect.

    1. Thanks, Vanessa. I hope you get to make it. It’s such a rewarding recipe with exciting ingredients to make a meal special.

  5. This is great, Megan! I am fermenting cranberries too this year, so thank you for this lovely flavour combination – I will definitely have to try! I don’t use whey or sauerkraut juice though, as there is enough natural culture in my ingredients to get the process started, especially if I use raw honey instead of maple syrup. I guess the extra starter helps if we use maple syrup which is cooked. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Hi Megan, is there a way to know when the ferment is “done?” Mine has been in the kimchi fermenter for 5 days, but in a cooler house (no fermenting mat). I’m just wondering if I should leave it in for a longer period? Is there a ” too long” time period?

  7. Hi there…don’t have fresh Cranberries but can buy dehydrated and frozen ones….I do have fresh and frozen blueberries….can I use them instead of Cranberries?
    Frances from a sweltering hot South Africa

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      Hi Frances, I would defrost cranberries and try using half frozen defrosted cranberries and half fresh blueberries. Sounds super delicious and like a fun experiment. I haven’t tried this, but it’s what I would do in your shoes. I’d love to hear how it goes. (The heat there sounds perfect for me, lol! Very cold weather is descending here. 😉 )

  8. I’m super excited to make this. I absolutely love all cranberry sauces. We make a cooked one with orange juice and maple syrup, and a raw relish with way too much sugar….I’m thinking this recipe will be a good replacement for that one 😉

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  9. Hi Megan, thank you for the recipe. I can not use lemon and orange due to allergies. Do you have any suggestion what would be good to sub for those? Thanks a lot.

    1. Post

      Hi Teresa, you’re welcome. 🙂 Sure, the main goal is to replace the zing that is lost from the cranberries when they ferment. You could use minced lemongrass; it tends to be very gentle. You could also use kaffir lime leaves, by crushing them first and then adding them to the ferment before the fermentation. Both of these items can be found at many grocery stores or at Asian markets. You could also add extra fresh ginger. I hope one of these works well for you! (https://www.thespruceeats.com/cooking-with-lemongrass-3217517)

      1. Thank you for your quick response and suggestions. I have ginger and saw lemongrass in store. I’m careful with kaffir lime leaves as they are from citrus family. I just saw pomegranate molasses sitting in my fridge and thought it could be good replacement as they have this zing we are looking for. So I’m going to give it a try.
        Do you press all ingredients down when you put them in a jar?

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          Yes, I put a weight on the solids, so just the liquid rises above. I’ll love to hear how yours turns out. The pom. molasses will add such a richness as well as the zing, sounds lovely!

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