Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Canning Cranberry Juice




This fall when my dad got a bladder infection my mom asked me to pick up some cranberry juice for him.  I was shocked at how hard it was to find just plain cranberry juice.  Most of it was mixed with apple juice, grape juice, high fructose corn syrup, and other natural flavorings.  They did not name what they used for flavorings.  What was my dilemma? My dad was recently diagnosed with a bad allergy to apples.  I know it is odd, but having kids with food allergies nothing surprises me anymore.  So I decided to make my own cranberry juice and can it for my family.

It was good timing being around Thanksgiving almost all the stores had bags of cranberries on sale for under a dollar.  So I bought a bunch of them up and threw them in my freezer for a rainy day or when I had time to actually make the juice and can it!!

Today was that rainy day. Well actually a snowy day, but a day that I had nothing else to do and had time to make my juice.


Here are my 19 bags of cranberries!


I ended up having to split the cranberries into two batches.  They could not
fit all into one batch.  To start out making the juice add equal amounts of 
water and cranberries to a large kettle or stock pot.  


Bring to boil and simmer until all the cranberries have popped!! I 
put a lid on top because the cranberries tend to splash when they pop!
This will take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes, depending on how 
many cranberries you have.


While the cranberries are cooking I get my strainer ready. I put a metal 
strainer over top of a large stock pot.  As you can see in the picture 
I attach the strainer to the handles to keep it from falling in and splashing
hot juice everywhere.  I learned this the hard way while making grape juice.


Then I cover the strainer with a piece of old pillow case to strain 
out the seeds, skin, and pulp.  


When the cranberries have all popped I scoop them out a 
little at a time and put them into the strainer.


Once all the juice has strained out I return the pot back to the 
stove to heat back up.  If you feel bad about throwing out the pulp 
you can run it through a food mill to remove the skins and use it 
to make some other desserts.  


Add sugar to taste.  For ten bags of cranberries I added about
3 1/2 cups of sugar to sweeten just enough so it did not have 
that strong bitter/sour taste.  Return to a boil and put into jars.


You can put into quart or 1/2 gallon jars.  Fill leaving 1/4 inch head 
space.  Wipe rims.  Bring your new lids to boil and place on jars.
Adjust your caps and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes for
quarts and 10 minutes for 1/2 gallons.  I got 7 1/2 gallons and a couple
of glasses for the kids to drink out of 19 bags of cranberries.  



I may have only saved about $10 by canning my own juice, but it is pure cranberry juice and I know what is in it.