This weeks canning adventures have been far less productive than last, but alas, life happens. I was able to fit in my first of what will no doubt be many cranberry canning projects and learned a few things along the way.
I found this recipe in a book that I received for Christmas. After making a few tweaks, I think the results were excellent, and Hubby agrees.
- 12-oz. Package of Cranberries
- 1 Cup Water
- 1/2 Cup Tangerine or Orange Juice
- 3 Cups Sugar
- 2 inches Cinnamon Stick
- 1/4 Cup Additional Tangerine or Orange Juice
- 3 Tbsp. Clear Jel
In a heavy saucepan, combine cranberries, water and 1/2 cup of juice. Bring this to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered for 5 minutes until cranberries pop.
Using a stick blender, puree the cranberry mixture in the pan. Add the sugar and cinnamon stick and return to boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Remove from heat and strain out cranberry seeds and pulp. Return strained spread to pan. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup juice with Clear Jel and stir till smooth. Add Clear Jel slurry to pan and bring mixture to boil. Boil hard for one minute, remove from heat.
Ladle hot spread into hot, sterilized 8-ounce jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space. Apply lids and process in water bath canner for 10 minutes. This recipe made 4 – 8-ounce jars.
I let this spread set overnight and opened one of the jars the next morning for breakfast. The spread was smooth and mild. There was a slight hint of cinnamon but no hint of citrus. That’s when I realized that the purpose of the tangerine/orange juice was not to add flavor to this spread, but rather to smooth out the taste. Cranberries can be rather tangy, to put it mildly. They have a bite that can almost burn when used by themselves.
I used the spread on a bagel, one side with cream cheese, the other without. Both were delicious, but I preferred the one without the cream cheese because I could taste more of the spread on that side. It was equally delicious on water crackers with cream cheese later in the day for a snack.
Besides enjoying the fruits (no pun intended) of my labor and eating all the canned goods I make, learning something new when I’m going through the process is always an added bonus. I have several recipes using cranberries to try in the next few days and should I find that the flavor has too much of a bite to it, I now know how to tame it down, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.