It's Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada, so this weekend I made a batch of Spiced Cranberry Sauce. Homemade cranberry sauce makes a great hostess gift throughout Thanksgiving and Christmas or great favours for a holiday party! It's easy to make and the cinnamon and cloves give it a little extra festiveness!
You will need:
6 cups cranberries
2 1/2 cups water
3 cups sugar
Cinnamon sticks and whole cloves
6 250ml canning jars and 6 two-piece snap lids
You will also need a hot water canner with rack. If you don't have one and don't plan to do a lot of canning, you can probably just borrow one from a friend or neighbour.
Start by sanitizing your jars and lids.
The jars can be sanitized by a cycle in your dishwasher on it's highest heat setting. Do this right before you make the sauce and leave the jars in on a warm dry setting so that they are still warm when you go to fill them. If you don't have a dishwasher, you can boil the jars in the hot water canner for 10 minutes. Keep them warm until you are ready to use them.
To sanitize the lids, bring a pot of water to a good rolling boil. Turn the pot off and add the lids. We don't want to actually boil the lids because it will affect the gummy seal.
Now make the sauce.
Cut a square of cheesecloth and put 2 cinnamon sticks and 1 1/2 tsp of whole cloves on it. Tie the corners of the cheesecloth together tightly, make sure your spices won't fall out.
Also, put a clean plate in your freezer. You'll see why in a minute.
Wash and drain cranberries. Combine berries and water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook until most of the berries skins have burst.
Remove from heat and puree. I use my stick blender for this (and love it!) but I used to use a blender and it worked just fine.
So that you don't have to learn this the hard way.... Hot liquid + blender = KaBoom. The pressure will push the lid off your blender (even if your hand is on it!) and send sticky scalding goop all over your kitchen, your clothing, and your flesh. (I'm speaking from experience here!) So if you are using a blender be sure to let some of the heat escape before blending, and then use a folded towel and firm pressure to hold the lid on while blending!
Return sauce to pot (if you had to remove it to blend) and add the sugar and the spice bag. Bring back to a boil and cook vigorously until the sauce darkens and gels. This will take about 8-12 minutes.
The sauce has gelled when in can be placed on a cold plate for a minute (this is why we put a plate in the freezer back at the beginning!) and then doesn't run back together when you run your finger through it.
Now can your yummy sauce.
Put water in your hot water canner and start it coming to a boil.
Ladle Sauce into your sterile warm jars. Leave about 1/2 inch of room at the top of the jar.
Screw on your warm sterile lids.
And place in the hot water bath canner. Make sure the water comes at least 2 inches above the top of the jars. When the water has returned to a full boil, put the lid on the canner and let it boil for 10minutes. (Random Science Lesson: If you live more than 1000 feet above sea level you actually need to boil it longer than that. This is because water boils at lower temperatures where atmospheric pressure is lower.)
When time is up, carefully remove jars from hot water and cool upright on a towel. If your sauce is sealed correctly, the tops of the lids will become concave and tight as they cool so that they don't flex or make a "popping" sound when you push on them.
As the jars cool on your counter they may make some little "pop"sounds. I love those little pops, they are the happy sound of canning success!
Add a pretty label and share with friends or guests. Enjoy!
[This is day 7 in a 31 day series about celebrating autumn. Click here for more fall ideas!]