How to Make Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without Cranberry Sauce! Cranberry sauce is another “co-star” having an important and delicious role as part of the supporting cast in the annual grand production we fondly call Thanksgiving Dinner, where a roasted turkey is the “star” of the show.  (See last post on Two Traditional Thanksgiving Side Dishes for more about this.)

Three main ingredients merge in this sweet/tart dish – sugar, water and cranberries.  Recipes also abound for cranberry sauce with other ingredients such as port wine, orange zest, orange-flavored liqueur, nuts and more.  

Canned cranberry sauce comes in 2 varieties – whole berry and jellied. Homemade cranberry sauce is so much better than canned that I really recommend you try making some if you have the time.  Homemade cranberry sauce takes 15-20 minutes to process in a boiling water bath canner.  Of course there is some set-up time involved in preparing the canner, jars and lids.  

Preparing Canner, Lids and Jars

 First, prepare the canner, jars and lids.  You will need to assemble eight (8-ounce) jars or 4 pint jars with lids and bands for each jar.  A boiling water bath canner is needed with a rack in the bottom to keep jars from touching the bottom of the pan.  If you don’t own a boiling water bath canner, you can use a large kettle that is deep enough to allow water to cover the jars with at least one inch of water when they are placed in the canner and enough space for boiling.  A rack placed in the bottom of the canner should hold the jars at least 1/2-inch above the bottom of the canner to allow water to circulate.  The canner should have a cover which will make it easier to keep the water at a full rolling boil during the entire processing time.

Jars should be washed in warm, soapy water or they may be washed in the dishwasher. Put a medium-sized saucepan filled with water on the stove to heat and sterilize the jars, lids and bands. When the water comes to a boil, turn down the heat so the water continues to simmer.  I usually dip the glass jars in the hot water and them place them, open end up, on a clean dish towel to await the hot cranberry sauce.  Lids and bands are left in the hot water until time to put them on the jars filled with cranberry sauce.

Preparing Cranberry Sauce

Secondly, in a large metal saucepan, combine sugar and water.  Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar.  Boil hard for 5 minutes.  Add cranberries and return mixture to a boil.  Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until all berries burst and liquid begins to sheet from a metal spoon, about 15 minutes.  

 

Next, ladle hot sauce into jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space.  Remove air bubbles and adjust head space, if necessary by adding hot sauce.  Wipe rim. Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.

 Place jars in the canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.

Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.

Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce
Yields 8
Wonderful cranberry sauce made of only 3 ingredients - water, sugar and cranberries! So much better than the canned variety!
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 cups granulated sugar
  2. 4 cups water
  3. 8 cups fresh cranberries (2 lbs.)
  4. Optional: grated zest of 1 large orange
Instructions
  1. Prepare canner, lids and jars.
  2. In a large metal saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil hard for 5 minutes.
  3. Add cranberries and return mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring occasionally, until all berries burst and liquid begins to sheet from a metal spoon, about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in orange zest, if using, during the last few minutes of cooking.
  5. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving 1/4" head space. Remove air bubbles and adjust head space, if necessary, by adding hot sauce. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
  6. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water. Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes. Remove canner lid. Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cook and store.
Notes
  1. This recipe also makes 4 pint jars, in the event you want pints instead of 8-oz. jars.
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
SILVER FOODIE http://www.silverfoodie.com/

Cranberry Sauce isn’t just for Thanksgiving Dinner. Try it with other meats (roast beef) and try it spread on a sandwich that contains meat. I know of one deli that serves a turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce. Yum! Send a jar of homemade cranberry sauce home with family and friends who enjoyed it at your Thanksgiving table as a remembrance of a wonderful day together. A jar of homemade cranberry sauce with a holiday tag and ribbon would also make a great Christmas gift for co-workers, family or friends!

Tasty Tip:  If you want to have cranberries on hand year-round, freeze them for later use.  Cranberries are only in season in the fall so buy a few extra bags to freeze for future muffins, breads, and other uses. Once the holidays are over, the cranberries seem to disappear from the grocer’s shelf!

Remember to Savor the Flavor!

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Janet

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A Pilgrimage for Peaches / A Summer Tradition

Peaches and nostalgia!  For many summers my parents and I drove to Filbert, South Carolina annually to visit The Peach Tree Orchards  to buy fresh, delicious peaches.  Now that my parents are gone, my husband Dave and I continue the tradition, making the 40 mile trek yearly.

      The Peach Tree in Filbert, South Carolina

Peaches are my very favorite fruit. I love the way they smell,  I love the way they feel slightly furry or fuzzy in my hands and I love the way they taste – indescribably sweet, juicy and delicious!  When I think of July, I think of peaches.  I admit I’m picky about peaches – I favor the freestone varieties (probably got that from my Dad).  For this reason we usually make our trip to the Peach Tree Orchards  after the Fourth of July to ensure the freestone varieties are available.  I called ahead and was delighted to learn that there were 3 yellow freestone varieties and 1 white freestone variety available.

We drove through rain all the way to Filbert, but our spirits weren’t dampened as we eagerly anticipated our visit.  The Peach Tree  has a free sample table as shown in the photo below, where different varieties of peaches may be tasted as well as the watermelon sold there.  We selected a 1/2 peck of peaches and a watermelon from the watermelon cart.

                    The Free Sample Table

                      The Watermelon Cart

                Ice Cream too!  Peach, of course!

Flags out for the Fourth of July at the Peach Tree

South Carolina is now the second leading producer of peaches in the USA, boasting of 300 varieties with ripening dates as early as May and as late as September.  The Peach Tree Orchards sells 35 varieties  ripening from June to September from their orchard covering 125 acres.

An interesting bit of history is that the great grandfather, Z.D. Smith, of the present owner, Ben R. Smith, Jr., began tending a small orchard in the 1860’s.  Ben R. Smith, Sr. began growing peaches in 1928 with five or six varieties.  Until around 1960 the peaches were commercially packed under the brand name “Pinnacle” because the orchard was located on some of the highest terrain in the area.  All the peaches were shipped up north, except for “culls.”

When Ben R. Smith, Jr. entered the family operation in 1958 he heard complaints from the locals that you couldn’t buy good peaches in a county with ten packing houses.  Ben started a small roadside stand in the front yard and in the early ’60’s the first section of The Peach Tree was built.  Gradually all shipping ceased and today they are a local market.  Speaking for North Carolinians, we’re glad you made this decision! 

You can’t have peaches around for long before they cry out to be put into a cobbler!  I have 2 favorite peach cobbler recipes – one from my mother and one from a church cookbook.  One has a biscuit-type crust and one has a batter-type topping.  Try them both and decide for yourself which one you like best!


Mom’s Peach Cobbler

 Ingredients:

4 cups sliced peaches

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons shortening

1/3 – 1/2 cup milk

Instructions:

In a large pan add the peaches, sugar and cornstarch.  Cook until the mixture thickens. 

Peaches with sugar and cornstarch

Pour into a 2-quart baking dish and dot with butter.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. 

             Dot thickened peaches with butter

Prepare the topping by mixing together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 

Cut the shortening into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter.  Stir in enough milk to make a soft dough. Knead the dough slightly on a floured surface.  Pat or roll out to fit the top of your baking dish.

                 Place dough on top of fruit

Bake in a 400º F. oven for 20 minutes or until crust has browned nicely.

  Serve with ice cream if desired.

Peach Cobbler with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Tasty Tip:  A sprinkle of coriander can also be added with the cinnamon and nutmeg for an interesting flavor.  Blackberries may be used when they are available instead of peaches.  This recipe doubles or triples well when a larger quantity is needed.


Fruit Cobbler

(Adapted from a recipe in the Viewmont Baptist Church Cookbook)

Ingredients:

Batter:

1 cup sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup milk

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling:

4 cups fruit

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 stick butter

Instructions:

Cook together fruit, sugar and cornstarch in a pan over medium heat until the mixture is thickened.  Melt the butter in an 8″ or 9″ casserole dish.  Mix batter ingredients together.  Pour batter over melted butter.  Do not stir.  Place thickened fruit mixture over batter.  Bake at 350º F. for 30-40 minutes, until crust is nicely browned. 

Note:  Cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander may be sprinkled over the thickened fruit mixture in this recipe also for extra flavor.



I hope you’re savoring the flavors of summer and that you’re taking advantage of fruits and vegetables available fresh exclusively in the summer time. 

In my next post I’ll feature some recipes for summer suppers.

Remember to savor the flavor!

Janet

Janet, the Silver Foodie, at the Peach Tree