Homemade Cranberry Jelly, In a Can

By • November 18, 2013 • 20 Comments


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Author Notes: This recipe (inspired by Marisa of Food in Jars: http://foodinjars.com/2011/11/home-canned-cranberry-sauce-made-in-a-tin-can-mold/) is super easy to put together, and the results are far better than anything you’d buy in the store. Cranberries should have enough natural pectin in them to set properly, but I prefer to use a little dry pectin anyhow, as I’ve had a couple jellies that failed to set in the past. I also like to add in warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, but you can leave these out if you’re going for that true from-the-can flavor. Bottom line: Don’t let the jelly lovers in your family settle for store-bought any longer. We’re worth it.Carey Nershi

Makes 1 can

  • 2 1/2 cups cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cups apple cider
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dry pectin (optional, but recommended)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 pinch cloves (optional)
  1. Place cranberries in a medium saucepan. Mix pectin and spices into the sugar, then add the sugar mixture to the cranberries and stir to combine. Add the cider and lemon juice.
  2. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring regularly. Once the cranberries have burst and the sauce has thickened, remove the pan from the heat. (If the sauce seems too thick, just add a splash of water or cider to thin it out.)
  3. Run the sauce through a fine sieve or food mill until all that’s left are the bits of seeds and skins. Pour the strained sauce into a can. (It’s best to use a can that’s BPA-free and once held a neutral-tasting food, to avoid imparting any unwanted flavors.) Cover can with foil or plastic wrap and let set in the fridge, for at least 12 hours.
  4. When it’s time to serve, run a butter knife around the sides of the jelly. If it still doesn’t seem to want to slide out, crack open the bottom of the can with a can opener. (No need to try to take the bottom off -- just a little bit of air should take care of the vacuum and let the jelly slide out easily.)

Comments (20) Questions (0)

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4 months ago deborahcleaver

Also, I used a food mill rather than a sieve, and it was really easy.

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4 months ago deborahcleaver

I didn't actually put this in a can, but in a rectangular plastic container. It came out with only a dip in hot water, and tasted fabulous! It was a total hit, and will be my standard cranberry dish from now on!

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4 months ago Caitlin

I was so excited for this, but mine never set! Not sure where I went wrong.

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5 months ago Gilliwinks

Absolutely delicious. It was easy to make and the flavors were subtle but perfect. The jelly had a thick satisfying consistency. Can't wait to make it again.

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5 months ago Mark Oviatt

EVERYBODY LOVED IT! & said "Don't lose that recipe!" and "Can I have a copy?" Even my daughter liked it better than canned. A miracle.

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5 months ago aliagrace

I also had an issue with the gelling of the sauce, but didn't think I cooked it that long. It was a big hit though even though it was like a thick syrup. I will definitely try this again and see if I am successful with the gelling.

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5 months ago swhubbell

This recipe didn't work for me. I made it twice, following directions precisely, and it came out the consistency of thick syrup. (i make jam in the summer quite successfully) It also
made only half a can.

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5 months ago Carey Nershi

It sounds like you may have cooked the mixture for too long. This recipe does make one can's worth, so it seems that it reduced down too much. Extended heating time can destroy pectin, which is probably why it was syrupy and did not gel.

I remove this from the heat when the mixture has just thickened to the point where it seems like it might start spitting bits of molten syrup at you if it cooks for any longer. (It should like like photo 3 above.)

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5 months ago Nancy

This was really easy and fast...now I can hardly wait for it to set up! Tastes great warm and I had a little more than a can so I get to taste it before I take it to dinner.

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5 months ago Hope :)

Ha! My husband is always in charge of making (from scratch) the cranberry sauce each year, and every single year I ask him to mold it to a can for old time's sake. :) Thank you so much for this.

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5 months ago wakitt

2 1/2 cups cranberries by weight or volume?

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5 months ago Carey Nershi

By volume.

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5 months ago Sandie

Should you run the sauce through the food mill when it is freshly off the stove? I let mine cool a bit and it was very difficult to get through the strainer. So I briefly heated it up to try again. Burt even in a warmer state, I had a hard time yielding a lot of sauce through the sieve. After a while, as I became the "Human Food Mill" and applied pressure with my (washed) hands, I suddenly realized I should have used that electric contraption that I use to can tomatoes! If you own one of those, THIS is the job for that! Next time! ;)

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5 months ago Carey Nershi

An electric device would definitely make quick work of these things! The sooner you get them through a hand mill, the better, since they'll start to set up as they cool. Heheh, "Human Food Mill." ;)

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5 months ago mboerner

Seems ridiculous reverse snobbery not to put it in a handsome mold.

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5 months ago SaraQ

How much liquid pectin would you use if one didn't have the dry pectin?

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5 months ago Carey Nershi

I'd sub 1 tablespoon of liquid pectin (and whisk it into the strained sauce before you pour it into the can, rather than adding it to the mix pre-cooking).

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5 months ago Mark Oviatt

I cannot wait to try this! Every Thanksgiving everybody has their fancy, home made cranberry relish and I proudly show off my cranberry jelly with the carefully sculpted ridges (straight out of a can). It will be fun to show off my FOR REAL home made cranberry jelly!

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5 months ago koechin

for years i've been trying to persuade my husband to let me make the cranberry sauce but he insists there is nothing like the can. i love the idea of letting it set in the can. i will make this and he will be fooled. ;)

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5 months ago Nancy

LOL! Love it!