Let me start by reminding everyone that I am new at this. Although I have always loved nature the fruits of boreal forests and the arctic are very much alien to me. That being said in the era of the internet with even minimal knowledge I have been able to learn so much in such a short period of time. I am by no means an expert though and this is just what I have done. I invite you to learn along with me how to make high bush cranberry sauce.

Transfixed by the sheer volume of berries in the forest around here I decided I needed to find out what to do with them all. One thing I have noticed is that fall moves fast in the north. (See this article for more information– it’s truly fasciniating) In the short time we have been here it’s gone from all green to full fledged autumn with bright leaves and dying underbrush. I’ve got to get those berries!

So here we go with high bush cranberries. I love them. They are like little bursts of tart in my mouth, but on the bush they have an unusual smell akin to sweaty socks which had turned my family off to eating them raw. I’ve been told making high bush cranberry sauce is a best bet.

Since we are in a cabin without measuring devices cooking is a bit a of a challenge, but the homeschooler in me can only think, “YAY! A lesson in proportion!” So here is my recipe.


  • 3 parts high bush cranberries (mixed with a random amount of bunch berries because, well they are there and they have pectin and my daughter wanted to add them)
  • 1 part sugar
  • Splash of OJ

  1. Wash and sort your berries.

    High Bush Cranberry Sauce

  2. Add sugar and OJ to smashed berries in a heavy pot.

    Wild Berries of Alaska

  3. Boil gently for 20-30 minutes.

    Boiling High Bush Cranberry Sauce

  4. Run the berries through a food mill

    (or in our case smash them through a colander since we don’t have a food mill– this is more fun anyway)Making Cranberry Sauce

  5. Cool in refrigerator

    Wild Berries of Alaska

  6. Enjoy!

I think this sauce would be fantastic with a roasted grouse. The grouse love the berries and are virtually tame. I am SO not a hunter though so there is no way I would ever in a million years be able to get one of these little guys, but all the same I don’t deny roasted grouse with homemade high bush cranberry sauce would be such a homeschool homesteader type meal.

Grouse in Alaska

Back to reality though we will have our sauce with Hamburger Helper. I can’t hand over my city slicker status overnight. Normally I would go for Ikea Swedish meatballs, but there aren’t any IKEAs in Alaska so I thought Beef Hamburger Helper would be a close second. 🙂


Enjoy more about foraging in the north:

Don’t forget to add Nature Study to your homeschool:

About Mary

Mary Stephens holds a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University and a Masters in Teaching from the American University. Mary spent almost twenty years homeschooling her four children and is now navigating post homeschool life in Alaska. She offers personal insights, recipes, homeschooling tips and tricks and travel advice on her website penciltreks.com. Mary also owns Christopher Travel, a luxury travel company specializing in exquisite vacations around the globe.

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