Cranberries: Preserve the ruby red jewels of the holidays – part 2

Preserve this seasons cranberries by canning.

It is the holiday season and cranberries are in abundance at the stores. The fall harvest has made them readily available. Now is the time to take advantage of the abundance and preserve some for later in the year.

Cranberries can be canned or frozen to preserve. The dehydration of cranberries results in a poor quality product. Read part one of this article – freezing cranberries.

Since cranberries are very tart, Michigan State University Extension recommends using a hot-pack technique and heavy syrup.

  1. To make heavy syrup, dissolve four cups of granulated sugar in four cups of water.
  2. Select deep red berries. Wash the berries and remove the stems.
  3. Drop the berries into the boiling syrup. Boil the berries for three minutes.
  4. Pack the berries into hot canning jars, leaving a half-inch of head space. Fill the jar to a half-inch from the top of the rim with boiling syrup.
  5. Remove air bubbles and wipe the rim. Adjust the lid.
  6. Process the jars using a boiling water bath technique for 15 minutes for both pints and quarts.

How about making a cranberry sauce? This cranberry sauce recipe will yield two pint jars.

  • 4 cups of cranberries
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of sugar

Directions:

  1. Wash the cranberries and sort out the bad ones. Cook the berries in the water until they are soft. When the berries are soft, press them through a fine sieve.
  2. Add the sugar and boil the mixture for three minutes. To help reduce foaming that will take place as the sauce cooks; cook the berries until they are soft.
  3. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of butter before the berries are sieved, crushed or the sugar is added.
  4. Pour the boiling sauce into hot canning jars. Be sure to leave a half-inch of headspace. Remove the air bubbles that may have been trapped in the jar. Wipe the jar rim with a clean, dampened paper towel.
  5. Adjust the lids. Then process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. The time of 15 minutes is for both pints and quarts.

A variation is to make a whole cranberry sauce. Do not sieve or mash the berries. If you wish to reduce the foaming add a one-half teaspoon of butter and stir it in, letting it melt. Add the sugar to the softened berries; bringing the sauce to a boil to dissolve the sugar. Be sure to stir the sauce so it does not burn. Boil the sauce for three minutes and then pour the boiling sauce into hot, clean canning jars. Be sure to leave a half-inch of headspace. Repeat the process of removing air bubbles and wiping the rim clean with a dampened paper towel. Adjust the lids, then process, the cranberry sauce in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

When the jars have cooled and stood for 12-24 hours, wipe them off and store them in a cool, dry place.

This canned cranberry sauce can be given as a gift or enjoyed later in the year. But, by all means – take advantage of those ruby red jewels of the season!

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