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How To Make and Can Your Own Cranberry Sauce
I have been eating cranberry sauce from a can for as long as I can remember. I love it! It is a staple at holidays and a treat year round that I would stock up on in the fall at rock bottom prices. This has now changed. In our quest to eat healthier I have banned High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) from our house. Last year when I pulled out the cranberry sauce for our Thanksgiving dinner I was very disappointed to see the second ingredient was HFCS. I knew then that I would have to figure out how to make my own.
When cranberries hit their lowest price of the season last week I stocked up. I bought sixteen bags, although in the end I only used twelve for four batches of cranberry sauce. Here is exactly what I did to net us 15 pints of cranberry sauce. Cranberries have so much natural pectin in them that you don't need to add any.
Ingredients for one batch of cranberry sauce, yields four pints.
3 (12 oz) bags cranberries
4 cups sugar
3.5 cups of water
- Wash cranberries and pick out any bad ones.
- Put cranberries and water into a large pot and boil for a few minutes until the skins start popping. You can hear as well as see this.
- Puree the cranberries. I used a hand held immersion blender and it took just a couple of minutes.
- Strain. I started by using a cheesecloth, but it quickly got clogged and nothing would strain through. I found a better option was my large strainer. I was pleased to discover that I got a very smooth cranberry sauce without a lot of pulp leftover to discard. There was very little waste.
- Pour the cranberry puree back into the pot and add the sugar. Stir to dissolve.
- Stir constantly and boil until it is almost at the gelling point - when the sauce comes off the spoon in sheets. I tried to capture a picture of this so you could tell what it should look like.
- Ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
- Cap with a fresh lid and ring and twist tight.
- Place in canner and once the water is boiling, process for 15 minutes.
- Remove from canner carefully, do not tip the jars or they may leak.
- Admire your beautiful cranberry sauce while it cools. Do not move the jars for 24 hours. Before putting the jars away gently press in the center to make sure the lids are sealed.
After I figured out the straining of the cranberries the cranberry sauce was fairly easy to make. There are many steps but it goes quickly. By the fourth batch I felt like a pro, although I'm really not. It took me a total of four hours start to finish for four batches. Now we get to enjoy our own cranberry sauce all year long and it is much better for us. If you haven't tried making your own yet, I hope you will soon, it is delicious!