How to Make Homemade Jellied Cranberry SauceAre you tired of the bland, nasty-looking jellied cranberry sauce from the grocery store? Which you rather serve? The homemade, fresh and natural jellied cranberry sauce at left... or something that schloops out of a can, at right?
Wouldn't you rather have fresh, preservative-free homemade cranberry sauce? It is SO easy to make - from start to finish only about 15 minutes. It's perfect with chicken, turkey, Christmas, Thanksgiving and the winter months! The bright color livens up any dinner table, kids love it and it is loaded with vitamin C and fiber. You can make it with sugar or honey.
It is easy to make and can, if you want some for later! Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated.
Prepared this way, the jars have a shelf life of 12 months to 18 months, and require no special attention.
Directions for Making Jellied Cranberry Sauce
Makes about 1 quart of jellied cranberry sauce
- 2 bags (12 oz each) Cranberries
- 2 cups of Sugar or honey
- 1 box Pectin (no sugar needed types work best)
If you plan to can it for later:
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)
- Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sterilize them. ($2 at Wal-Mart)
- Jar funnel ($2 at Wal-Mart)
- At least 1 large pot
- Large spoons and ladles
- Widemouth Ball jars (Publix, Wal-Mart carry then - about $8 per dozen quart jars including the lids and rings). You can use regular canning jars, but the wide moth make it easier to get the cranberry sauce out later, intact
- 1 Water Bath Canner (a huge pot with a lifting rack to sterilize the jars of jellied cranberry sauce after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, Wal-Mart) You CAN use a large pot instead, but the canners are deeper, and have a rack top make lifting the jars out easier. If you plan on canning every year, they're worth the investment.
Recipe and Directions
Step 1 - Get your cranberries
There are very few places to pick your own, but happily, they store and transport well, so there probably isn't much difference. Most grocery stores sell the 12 oz bags. Look for firm berries with a dark color.
Step 2 - If you are canning: Wash the jars and lids
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sterilize" cycle, the water bath processing will sterilize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sterilize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sterilize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used. Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jellied cranberry sauce.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.
Step 2- Wash the cranberries
Pour them in to a large bowl of cold water, and swirl them around, scoop them out with your fingers, feeling for any mushy berries, as you scoop. Discard any mushy, soft berries.
The picture of the 4 berries shows you unripe through ripe. I'd throw out the one on the far left, but use the other 3.
Step 3 - Cook the cranberries
Put 2 inches of water (or cranberry or apple juice) in a pot, get it boiling and pour the cranberries in. Let them cook for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice (you'll hear the berries popping, as the berries cook - you'll kids will get a kick out of that). Once half the berries are popped and the sauce feels mushy, it's done! It should take 10 to 15 minutes of cooking over medium-high heat.
Step 4 - Crush and strain the cranberries
A Foley food mill is perfect for this! You can use other types of strainers, such as the KitchenAid or a Roma / Villaware strainer.
Step 5 - Add the pectin
Stir in 1 box of fruit pectin. Some cranberries have enough pectin naturally to set on their own, but it's a lot more certain to add the pectin and know it will set!
Step 6 - Heat the strained cranberries
Bring the strained cranberries with the pectin back to a boil.
Step 7 - Add the sugar and bring to a full boil for one minute
Add 2 cups of sugar. Of course, you can use other sweeteners, such as honey, or even frozen concentrated fruit juice (like grape).
Bring it back to a full rolling boil and boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.
If you don't plan to can any, you're done!
Step 8 - finishing up
Just pour into a mold or serving container, chill in the fridge for a couple of hours and serve!
If you want to can for later, continue through to steps 9 and 10.
The cranberry sauce does not need any further cooking; just keep it hot until you get enough made to fill the jars you will put into the canner (Canners hold seven jars at once, whether they are quart or pint size)
Step 9 - Fill the jars and process them in the water bath
Fill the jars (preferably wide mouth jars) to within 1/2 inch of the top, wipe any spilled cranberry sauce of the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Put them in the canner and keep them cover with at least 1 inch of water and boiling. if you are at sea level (up to 1,000 ft) boil pint jars for 15 minutes and quart jars for 20 min. If you are at an altitude of 1,000 feet or more, see this cart:
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Quart Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 3,000 ft||3,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
Step 10 - Remove and cool the jars - Done
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
From left to right:
- Jar lifting tongs
helpful to pick up hot jars
- Lid lifter
- to remove lids from the pot
of hot water
- disposable - you may only
use them once
- holds the lids on the jar until after
the jars cool - then you don't need them
- Canning jar funnel
- to fill the jars
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