Just like jams and jellies, homemade cranberry sauce is a great item to make-ahead and freeze. Transfer it into mason jars, pop them in your freezer, and you can cross one thing off your Thanksgiving "to do" list.
Rinse and drain cranberries. Place in a heavy medium saucepan with water, and sugar. Bring to a boil, and when you hear a cranberry or two pop, reduce heat to low. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
Use a wooden spoon to press some of the cranberries against the pan to mash them slightly. Remove from heat and add orange or lemon juice and zest. Stir well and allow to sit for about 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Transfer sauce to mason jars or other airtight containers and allow to cool for about 30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least several hours till completely chilled, or for one or two days before serving. The sauce will thicken and the flavors will blend as it cools.
Apple or Pear Cranberry Sauce -Add diced apple or pear to the pan with the cranberries and water before bringing to a boil. Follow as directed. Add optional cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice after removing from heat. Blueberry or Raspberry Cranberry Sauce - Follow recipe as directed. Add one or both type of berries and optional seasoning to pan after removing it from the heat. Break them up a bit with the wooden spoon, if desired.
Transfer prepared cranberry sauce to airtight freezer safe containers, like mason jars, and allow to cool completely in refrigerator before freezing. When ready to serve, allow to defrost for a day or two in the refrigerator. Best if consumed within 3 months.