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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 to eat now, or to can, if you want some for weeks or months 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.
Other cranberry facts? They're very rich in vitamin C and anti-oxidants! Recent research shows that cranberries are effective at preventing UTI's (urinary tract infections!). In England the local variety is known as whortleberries, wortleberries or bilberries. Where the name "worthleberry" or "whortleberry" comes from, I do not know; but you can find the low growing plants in Wales! In
Makes about 1 quart of jellied cranberry sauce
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.
If you will be canning the cranberry sauce, now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. If you're not canning the sauce, just skip this step. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize 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 10 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.
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.
Put in just enough cranberry juice (or water or apple juice), a half cup of orange juice (optional) in a pot, get it boiling!
Pour the cranberries in. Let them cook for about 5 to 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 no more than 10 minutes of cooking over medium heat.
A Foley food mill is perfect for this! You can use other types of strainers, such as the KitchenAid or a Roma / Villaware strainer. In a pinch, a sieve and the bottom of a jar to mush them through the sieve will work, but not nearly as easily as a food mill.
To see a greater variety of strainers in other types, sizes, and prices, click here!
Another trick? Use a blender to puree the whole cooked berries; it's not as smooth as the strained, but uses the whole berry!
Cranberries, if you don't overcook them, will usually set on their own. 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! If you make jam, you probably have some pectin handy. Adding a half packet of it will ensure a good set. Again, it's not necessary, so don't panic if you haven't got it!
Bring the strained cranberries with the pectin back to a boil.
Add 2 cups of sugar. Of course, you can use other sweeteners, such as honey (2 cups), 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.
To can, to store and eat later:
If you want to can for later, skip step 8 and jump to step 9.
To eat now:
If you don't plan to can any, you're done! Just pour into a mold or serving container, chill in the fridge for a couple of hours and serve!
At left is a plain Pyrex baking dish. I filled it, cooled it in the fridge then inverted on a plate!
TIP: to get the jellied cranberry sauce to come out of the mold intact, especially if it hasn't firmed up hard enough; I stick it in the freezer for about an hour or so. That makes it hard enough that if you run hot water over the outside bottom of the mold, and invert the mold, it should slide out easily and remain in tact.
Below is a silicone baking mold; again, just fill, chill and invert! I got this mold for $2.50 at Target. They also had snowmen molds.
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). 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|
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, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. 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:
Home Canning Kits
See the seller's website for features, pricing and user reviews!
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used
to make everything from cranberry sauce to jams and jellies to tomato and
spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need: the
canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel,
labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. You'll
never need anything else except more jars and lids!
Victorio V250 Food Strainer (the same as the
comparable Villaware and Roma models)
See the seller's website for features, pricing and user reviews!
Deluxe Food Strainer & Sauce Maker
Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars? Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes? Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!
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