Thursday, November 10, 2011

Canning Cranberry Sauce

The family is coming for Thanksgiving...

I've cooked Thanksgiving dinner every year since I moved away from home when I was 18 years old, except for one year... (my Mama always cooked Christmas and I cooked Thanksgiving). The only year I didn't cook was when my daughter was 16 years old... her Riverdance Team was invited to dance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thanksgiving Day... the entire family went... it was great! My sister was living in New Jersey at the time so our base was there for the week... Thanksgiving dinner was a group effort in her kitchen and served on Wednesday evening to free up our day in the City to watch our dancers. But all the other years I've done the entire meal... except for the pumpkin pies... Mama always made those... and I made dessert for Christmas... it's been a great system... Since Mama is no longer with us (she's been gone three years now) my youngest brother, Kevin, has taken on the pie making.

I love every aspect of creating and serving this annual meal for my family... we always have pretty much the same menu... turkey, gravy, dressing (not stuffing... we bake it in a pan, we don't stuff the bird), sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, and cranberry sauce. Sometimes we add "green stuff" (a jello salad my Aunt Beckie always made), and for the past few years, ham (because my DH is not fond of turkey)... sometimes there's banana pudding and there's usually red velvet cake (my oldest brother, Jeff's birthday is November 25 so we add birthday celebrating to Thanksgiving dinner and his favorite is red velvet cake... this year Jeff will be the BIG 5-0 so I'm trying to think of a way to make a black red velvet cake, maybe I'll just cover the usual fluffy white frosting with black fondant, we can always peel it off)... I've never even considered NOT cooking... it's work, sure, but it's a labor of love to me... for several years now, my youngest daughter has come down the day before and helps out and we have a blast cooking and preparing the enormous meal... we turn on the Macy's Parade while we cook and run back and forth watching the floats and bands and of course dancers amidst stirring and mixing and baking... I wouldn't change one second of Thanksgiving Day! It was always Mama's favorite holiday... she said it was a day when we just ate and fellowshipped and relaxed without the hustle and bustle of Christmas... I intend to carry on the tradition as long as I am able. We try to eat at noon (some of the kids have in-laws now and must go on to supper elsewhere), we traditionally go around the big table naming something we are thankful for and then we eat!... afterwards we take a walk in the woods or play some outdoor yard games if the weather is nice, or we play video games inside if it's too cold or rainy out... we've done Dance Dance Revolution (OMG you should see my Dad and brothers dancing on a mat! Too funny!) Last year it was Wii wave jumping... then we generally settle in for football and napping... cleaning up and clearing somewhere in between... and just covering the food so we can snack and munch for supper later.

For the past several years, I've made my own cranberry sauce... it's super easy... but I always make too much and have a huge bowl left in the fridge... we don't eat it that often and it tends to get pushed to the back of the fridge... I usually end up throwing it out around New Years.

When I bought my cranberries recently for sauce making... they were on sale "buy one get one free" so I bought two bags... and thought I'd just can the sauce up so I wouldn't have all that sauce left over...

Here's what I did...

I rinsed my

2 (12 oz.) bags of cranberries

and put them in a large saucepan and covered them with water (probably 2 inches of water)

I added...

2 cups granulated sugar

and brought the mixture to a boil, then reduced the heat  to medium and let it gently boil for about 15 minutes until the cranberries pop (you'll hear the berries popping as they cook)...

That's it! If you don't want to can it... you can eat it right now! or let it cool... and then eat it.

I prepared my pint canning jars and lids (I put the jars upside down in a flat pan of boiling water set over two stove eyes, and simmered the lids in hot water, keeping everything hot until I was ready for them)

I filled my jars with the sauce, leaving a half inch headspace...

I wiped the rim of each jar and tightened the lids on to fingertip tightness...

I processed the jars in a boiling water bath (place jars in the canner ensuring the are covered with water, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes).

After processing I removed the jars using my jar lifter and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar.

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. Sounds super yummy, just a question though, does it thicken and get jel - like when its canned or do I need to add something else? I wonder if I could add orange zest as well? Thank you for all of these posts I am so Happy I found your site!!!!!

  2. Gerty, it DOES thicken and gel, nothing else needed... and you can indeed add orange zest, I've done it before, just didn't this time. Thank you SO much for reading! ~~Granny

  3. Thanks for sharing! I will have to try this! New Follower! Visit me at

  4. Thanks for reading... your blog is GREAT!!! ~~Granny

  5. Pam:

    I am big into making marmalades (which you may already know since I comment here sometimes). I took your idea of cranberries and made a Cranberry Orange Marmalade. I partially cooked the marmalade and the cranberries separately and then combined them to finish the cooking process.


    PS. Happy Thanksgiving

  6. What a wonderful Holiday gift for neighbors as well as myself. How many pints does your recipe make? Thanks again for the recipe Joan

    1. Joan, If memory serves... it makes 6-8 pints. Thanks, ~~Granny

  7. I make a triple berry Cranberry Sauce that also contains fresh orange juice and zest. I've always frozen it and just scoop out what I need at the moment. It lasts forever, if well covered. Because I've been asked so many times for the recipe, I was wondering if I could can it and this is the answer !

    Thanks so much !
    Sally T

  8. My mom makes a cranberry sauce with cranberries, raspberries and crushed pineapple. I wonder if they would be ok, being canned together? Cranberry sauce is a favorite of mine. I eat it year round. Its very refreshing in the summer!

    1. Oh, yes, that combination is great to can together! ~~Granny

  9. I made 3 recipes of this last week and I'm giving the half pint jars as early Christmas gifts to my friends. It turned out really good and set up well.

    Leslie's Cranberry Orange Sauce

    8-9 cups cranberries
    4 cups sugar
    4 cups water
    2 oranges
    1 T. vanilla flavoring, optional

    Preparation : Prepare 12 half pint jars, lids, and rings. Sterilize the jars and keep them in the hot water till its time for processing. Make sure to fill your water bath canner and get the water to a simmer.

    Cooking: In a large stainless steel add water, sugar, zest and juice of 2 oranges and heat up over medium heat. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Add the cranberries and bring back to a boil. the cranberries will begin popping. If you like it whole cranberries and some sauce use a potato masher to smooth the cranberries. If you want it to be just sauce you can use an immersion blender. Cook stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. Add vanilla flavoring. Remove from heat.

    Filling the jars: On a dishtowel place your hot jars and using your funnel in each jar using a ladle then fill the jars leaving ½” headspace. Remove air bubbles and refill to the proper headspace with the mixture if necessary. Taking a clean papertowel wet it with warm water and wipe the rims of the jars removing any food particles that would interfere with a good seal. Using your magic wand extract the lids from the hot water and place them on the now cleaned rims. Add your rings to the tops of each of the jars and turn to seal just "finger tight".

    Processing: Make sure your rack is on the bottom of the canner and place the jars in the water bath making sure that the water covers each of the jars by 1 to 2 inches. Add hot water to the canner if it doesn't measure up. Cover the pot and turn up the heat under the canner and wait for the water to start boiling. Once the water has come to a boil start your timer for 10 minutes. When complete turn off the heat and remove the cover and let the jars sit for another few minutes. Remove the jars and place them back on the dishtowel in a place that they will sit overnight to cool. Do not touch or move them till the next morning.

    Sealing: Some time in the next hour your jars will be making a "pinging" or "popping" noise. That is the glass cooling and the reaction of the lids being sucked into the jar for proper sealing. Some recipes may take overnight to seal. Check your lids and reprocess any jars that did not seal.

  10. Granny--thanks for the great post. I checked your site because I was making some anyway and figured--why not put some up. I hasn't even been 2 weeks since I found your site and I have already canned-- Chicken Layered Soup Grab & Go, Onion Soup, Caramelized Onions, Dog Food and today Cranberry Sauce.

  11. Granny-you are the best. Just waiting for the last set of jars to finish their water bath- made 18 pints. I figure some will become gifts.

  12. Thanks for this! I'm giving homemade canned goods as Christmas gifts this year, and cranberry sauce would be a perfect addition.

  13. Hey, Im 23 and I've never canned before, but I'm moving onto a farm with my 7-year boyfriend so I need to learn! What size pressure cooker (if that's what I need to buy) is suitable?


    1. As big as you can afford! I recommend the All American brand or Presto... in any size they come in. ~~Granny

  14. I usually make a version of cranberry sauce with oranges apples and jello. Do you think I could can all of this together? Great site. Thanks for causing my addiction to winter canning! Lol

  15. I usually make a version of cranberry sauce with oranges apples and jello. Do you think I could can all of this together? Great site. Thanks for causing my addiction to winter canning! Lol

    1. Sure Shannon, I don't see why not, sounds delicious! ~~Granny

  16. Cranky Turkey Sandwich

    (hopefully) thick slices of homemade bread
    left over turkey
    a thick slathering of cream cheese
    a nice layer of cranberry sauce -- whole or just jelly
    toasted like a grilled cheese sandwich
    noone will care it's leftovers, they're just gonna love the combination

  17. Is it possible to make this with stevia instead of sugar, or at least use stevia in place of some of the sugar?

  18. How long will this recipe keep in tje jars?


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