Home » Cranberries » Cranberry Sauce {Jellied in Cans}

Cranberry Sauce {Jellied in Cans}

Jellied Cranberries in a Can

Jellied Cranberries in a Can

My daughter, Emily, emailed me a link to a recipe to make my own canned cranberries. The kids and I all insist cranberries must be jelly only (NO husks/skins) and come from a can and make a sucking sound. We like ridged cranberry sauce cut into slices. It’s just our thing. My P.S. disagrees. But since he roasts the turkey and I do all the rest of the dishes, my choice is served.I’ve made all kinds of jellies and jams so I understand natural pectin and how cranberries make their own firm jelly. Putting homemade cranberry sauce into a can to shape it up seemed like such an excellent idea, I don’t know why I never thought to make it on my own. This would be fun! Besides being possibly more healthy without high fructose corn syrup.  I looked at many recipes online but decided to stick with the one that was simply berries, sugar, apple juice and water.

Cranberries from Wisconsin

Cranberries from Wisconsin

I picked up a bag of cranberries on my way home from work, eager to get started. The berries were from Wisconsin.  I hadn’t known cranberries were even grown in Wisconsin.  I assumed they all came from Maine, and were harvested by the two guys in the tv commercial in hip waders.  But it pleased me to buy more local ingredients.

Bring apple juice, sugar and water to a boil; add cranberries

Bring apple juice, sugar and water to a boil; add cranberries

That evening I put the sugar, apple juice and water into a large saucepan and brought them to a boil.  I added the cranberries and brought it to a boil again, then turned down the heat to medium low and simmered it until all of the berries had popped and softened. They cooked fairly quick, it was maybe only about 5 minutes before I thought they were done.

Cook until berries have popped and softened, about 5 minutes

Cook until berries have popped and softened, about 5 minutes

The recipe had suggested adding more water if it thickened too much while cooking, so twice I added 1/2 cup of water. I wasn’t sure what it meant by thick, it seemed too thick to me. I think that was my mistake, as you will soon see.

Press berries through a fine strainer or food mill until only seeds and skins are left

Press berries through a fine strainer or food mill until only seeds and skins are left

I poured the berries into a fine metal strainer I’d placed over a bowl. Using a silicone spatula, I pressed and stirred until I had only skins left in the strainer. I discarded them and tasted my sauce. I decided they tasted perfect.

Discard skins and pour remaining puree into prepared cans

Discard skins and pour remaining puree into prepared cans

The cans were rinsed and dried and ready, so I poured half of the sauce into each can. I let them cool on a rack on the counter for about an hour, then covered them with foil and put them into the back of the fridge so they weren’t jostled.

Canned puree

Canned puree

The next day I loosened one can with an icing knife around the inside of the can and it poured out onto my serving plate into a thick mess. It wasn’t nearly firm enough.  It had the consistency of applesauce.  I thought back to adding about a cup of extra water and wondered if I’d ruined it in doing that. I shrugged, and after a quick trip to the grocery for a new bag of cranberries started over. I’d figure out a use for the runny cranberry sauce later. Like after the holiday.

My first berries didn't firm up

My first berries didn’t firm up

I followed the same directions with the next bag of cranberries.  This time my P.S. had bought a name brand, Ocean Spray, but we laughed when the bag said they were cranberries from Wisconsin.  Hopefully I’d have better luck with these Wisconsin berries.

More cranberries

More cranberries

I followed the directions again, boiling the apple juice and water, then adding the berries.  The were popped and softened in about 5 minutes.  I smashed them through the strainer with a silicone scraper and poured them into the prepared cans.  Again they cooled about an hour, then into the fridge covered in foil.

Pour into prepared cans

Pour into prepared cans

The next day I took a can out of the fridge, ran a knife around the inside, and carefully upended the can onto my serving dish again. They plopped out perfectly! I was so proud! I ran for my camera for my blog pictures. I replaced the cranberry roll back into the can and back into the fridge to await Thanksgiving.

Jellied Cranberries in a Can

Jellied Cranberries in a Can

This project was so easy, once I figured out to not add extra water, that I can’t imagine buying them ever again. The flavor was even better than the commercial jellied cranberries, or was I just that proud of my effort? Nah, everyone at the family gathering absolutely loved them and were super impressed.  The flavor was so natural, simply cranberries and delicious!

I’ve seen several other versions of making your own canned cranberries that have twice the sugar and add the juice of one lemon. Not necessary!  Other recipes add apples or orange juice.  Again, not necessary.  Messing with the perfection of the cranberries on their own is just silly.

Jellied Cranberry Sauce {molded in cans}

12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup water

Bring sugar, apple juice and water to a boil over medium high heat. Add berries and bring to a boil again.
Reduce to medium and let cook until all berries are burst and soft, about 5 minutes.

Put into a jelly strainer or a fine mesh strainer and use a scraper to press through until you have only seeds and skins left. Discard seeds and skins.

Pour sauce into cleaned and dried cans (bpa free if possible) and let cool. Cover with foil or plastic and refrigerate until used, or at least 12 hours.

To remove from can, run a knife carefully around the inside of the can and let it slide out. Slice and serve!

2 cans of jellied cranberry sauce ( a little over one can total)

Recipe adapted from Instructables.Tiara Logo

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