Preserves & Canning/ Recipes

Highbush Cranberry Jelly

There is a certain satisfaction to picking Highbush cranberries yourself, not only because they are free-appealing to the cheapskate within- but also that my kids got to help me pick and then eat their just rewards. Those little turkeys were right in the bushes with me, “helping” to pick these and said little turkeys have been enjoying this jelly in their sandwiches and on toast.

It really isn’t just for turkey at Thanksgiving, it has that definite taste of cranberry jelly, but is miles away from the commercial stuff.

I am going to have to git out there and pick more berries, because the jelly is a daily demand on toast now. I am going to run out before a single major holiday rolls around!

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Ingredients Needed:

8 cups  ripe highbush cranberries
7 cups  sugar
3 cups water
1 pouch Certo Liquid

Take your eight cups of cranberries and squish them. Which is actually popping them. Son of a gun, I looked like I was blood splattered after this part of the recipe, it looked like something out of a horror movie. The berries do not squish nicely, they explode.

What I finally did was take a cup and use the bottom to mash them, not only did it help keep the bloody cranberry gore splatters from flying everywhere, it popped them better.

Add the water into the pot and boil the berries for 10-15 minutes. This part is stinky, they don’t emit a very pleasant odor when boiled. Or at all actually, when we picked them I actually “smelled” the berries first, so I started looking for them while we walked.

It sounds rather Les Stroud of me, but in the fall when you are walking in the bush and smell something that is worse than your gym shoes? That’s fall ripened cranberries.

Once they are done boiling, strain them through a cheesecloth. I put the cheesecloth over a colander, then over a pot, works beautifully.

Once it cools enough, you can lift it up and squeeze the remainder out of the cheesecloth. (Purists will NOT squeeze as they say it makes the jelly cloudy. Mine was still as clear as a bell, choose whichever you want!)

You will get a good 5 cups of juice, and to this add your sugar. Time to boil it up!

Once it’s boiling, stir in the liquid certo. Bring it back to a full boil, then boil it hard for a minute or two, making sure to stir constantly.

There will be foam on top, so skim it off. I have found that if you let it sit for a couple minutes, the foam forms a skin on top, making it really easy to scoop it all off cleanly.

You do want to try and get it all off, when making a jelly it’s so crystal clear that foam bits show up as “floaties” in the middle of the jar.

Pour into your sterilized jars, leaving about 1/4 inch left at the top. Make sure that before you put the lids on, wipe the rims as clean as possible, because this is is number one reason they won’t seal when you put them in the canning pot and boil them.

These needed to be boiled in the canning pot for 10-15 minutes.

I did a lot of small 125 ml jars to give away with my Christmas baking this year, little tastes for everyone. Not everyone likes cranberry jelly-though I now dare them to try this instead, what a difference- and the 125ml is a perfect size for one meal with a few people who like it on their poultry.

Now, I need to get out to the River Valley and find some more cranberries to pick, so the kids can have some! I hid my little Christmas jars on them and they keep asking for jelly, mean mother that I am.

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Highbush Cranberry Jelly


  • Author: Karlynn Johnston
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 60 min

Description

Homemade jelly made from the abundant Highbush cranberry!

Ingredients

  • 8 cups ripe highbush cranberries
  • 7 cups sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 pouch Certo Liquid

Instructions

  1. Take your eight cups of cranberries and squish them. Which is actually popping them. Son of a gun, I looked like I was blood splattered after this part of the recipe, it looked like something out of a horror movie. The berries do not squish nicely, they explode.
  2. What I finally did was take a cup and use the bottom to mash them, not only did it help keep the bloody cranberry gore splatters from flying everywhere, it popped them better.
  3. Add the water into the pot and boil the berries for 10-15 minutes. This part is stinky, they don’t emit a very pleasant odor when boiled. Or at all actually, when we picked them I actually “smelled” the berries first, so I started looking for them while we walked.
  4. It sounds rather Les Stroud of me, but in the fall when you are walking in the bush and smell something that is worse than your gym shoes? That’s fall ripened cranberries.
  5. Once they are done boiling, strain them through a cheesecloth. I put the cheesecloth over a colander, then over a pot, works beautifully.
  6. Once it cools enough, you can lift it up and squeeze the remainder out of the cheesecloth.
  7. You will get a good 5 cups of juice, and to this add your sugar. Time to boil it up!
  8. Once it’s boiling, stir in the liquid certo. Bring it back to a full boil, then boil it hard for a minute or two, making sure to stir constantly.
  9. There will be foam on top, so skim it off. I have found that if you let it sit for a couple minutes, the foam forms a skin on top, making it really easy to scoop it all off cleanly.
  10. You do want to try and get it all off, when making a jelly it’s so crystal clear that foam bits show up as “floaties” in the middle of the jar.
  11. Pour into your sterilized jars, leaving about 1/4 inch left at the top. Make sure that before you put the lids on, wipe the rims as clean as possible, because this is is number one reason they won’t seal when you put them in the canning pot and boil them.
  12. These needed to be boiled in the canning pot for 10-15 minutes.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 15

 

 

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Sally Dunbar
    October 24, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    Cheerful commentary…thanx for your work☺️

  • Reply
    Sherry
    August 23, 2017 at 8:54 am

    I think I am going to try this,but my family likes more jam like spread. What do you think about leaving most of the skins?

  • Reply
    Dottie Cummings
    February 28, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    I have problem with getting mine to jell as well. I am assuming that you gave yours the water bath as well, My mother never water bathed hers after and she never used anything but Certo. I followed the recipe exactly but I didn’t water bath either. I found 2 different recipes online, made 2 different batches, both are like syrup. Next time it will be powdered sure-jell. Using both recipeis of course. Maybe a water bath too. i’LL THINK ABOUT IT…..

  • Reply
    SVanHulle
    April 4, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    this jelly is absolutely amazing on tea biscuits!!

  • Reply
    Andrea Breton
    December 9, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Hi there – love the sound of this recipe! Can I uses the pulp in the cheesecloth to make a thicker cranberry sauce (like I do with quince paste) or has the flavour all dripped into the juice?

    regards.

    Andrea

  • Reply
    vtdryrot
    September 22, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    PS.- Found be salad spinner with cheese cloth sack to work well for juice extraction. Really well

  • Reply
    vtdryrot
    September 22, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    any thoughts on using the non-Certo version path to a shrub? I’ve recently made plum-peach shrub and found it to be a great alternative to many other beverages.  looked today (in NEK of Vermont) for cranberries and found zip. I  made a great amount of crab apple jelly, some of which will be used as underlay(or overlay) for pies and tarts. 

    My plums, crab apples and berries passed by so quickly in this weird weather pattern. Now I want to see if cranberry and apple can make a shrub? My crabapples had enough pectin to suport a pencil and I vinegared a jar to see what I might find. Worked well. The jelly turned to shrub (increase of about 1/4 to 1/3 of total). 

    I’ve been picking up apples from the many old  trees along the roads and testing for taste, critters and pectin. So many apples and no cider press (yet). 

    I bought a jar of non-high fructose apeach-apricot preserve today to see what might be wrought. 

    Any thoughts welcome.

  • Reply
    Alice
    September 19, 2015 at 6:23 pm

    Just did this recipe ad when they jars cam out of the hot water bath the jelly was more loose then when going in the canner. Will it set up?

  • Reply
    Sparkes
    August 12, 2015 at 12:13 am

    No Certo option:  If you use cranberries that are partially ripe (red/yellow – make sure they’re at least partly red), you will still get a red jelly, with the bonus of not having to use any Certo – so much natural pectin in the less ripe fruit. I used the same amount of sugar (1 1/2 c. sugar to 1 c. cranberry syrup) and it jells like crazy. I just clean the berries, cover with water and boil, crushing with the potato masher as they cook (you won’t get splattered this way). Then pour the cooked mixture into the jelly bag to drip (I never squeeze it – old school).   Then reheat and add the sugar until the wooden spoon gets two drips instead of one.  This is the way my mom made it and it works for me every time. (and supposedly never make jelly on a cloudy day – something to do with atmospheric pressure and it won’t gel).

  • Reply
    rancherhicks
    July 28, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    thanks. I had saved five cups of juice but darned if I could find the recipe in the three books I have. Don’t know what recipe I used but this will do. 

    Thanks again  Rancher Hicks

  • Reply
    jennywren
    December 30, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I haven’t tried using powder before, in this recipe.  I have been unsuccessful in using items other than called for in the reciepe.  However,  if you don’t mind having syrup if it doesn’t set….go for it!  Syrup is great on pancakes, waffles, crepes, and the like!

  • Reply
    Shelley H
    December 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    https://www.thekitchenmagpie.com/author/admin,

    Can we substitute Sure Jell powder for the liquid pectin?

    Thanks

  • Reply
    Shelley H
    December 15, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Karlynn,

    Can we substitute Sure Jell powder for the liquid pectin?

    Thanks

    • Reply
      MaryShields
      October 8, 2015 at 11:35 pm

      @Shelley H I realize your post is two years old, but you may catch this.   I have been making HB cranberry jelly for the last 50 years and have always used the powdered pectin  with great success

      • Reply
        GaelicGal
        October 3, 2016 at 8:58 am

        MaryShields Thank you Mary, I was wondering this as well.  By the way, do you, or have you ever used apples when making this? My grandmother had taught me how many years ago, and I didn’t write it down……..foolish and young……..any help would be appreciated, and if I have to wait 2 yrs, that’s okay too.  Thanks

  • Reply
    Roberta E
    September 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Easier to squish the berries while they first boil, no need for the first step. i have made this recipie for 60 years, never fails, we use it on everything, not just chicken, of course i only have to walk with my bucket and cutters for 2 1/2 minutes to my laden bushes, then i pick, sort and save enough to freeze for other wonderful recipes during the winter, also give some to my sister to cook with, easy as pie, i even win at the local fair with my jelly, try it, you’ll love it.

    Roberta in NB Canada

  • Reply
    Karlynn Johnston
    August 13, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Not until way later on in the fall! They have to be very red and juicy first!

  • Reply
    jeronimama
    August 13, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    When do I pick these little beauties. My husband and I planted about 20 of them several years ago. We have sooo many this year and I am finally “ready” to make this jelly. However, I have no idea when they are ready?

    jeronimama 

  • Reply
    MariaWeber
    September 22, 2012 at 12:44 am

    I just made this!  Its turning out great!  Added a little orange juice because my cranberries didn’t yield 5 cups (because I didn’t have 8 cups, haha)  of juice.  Liistened to another review and added  a bit of cloves before the mesh straining part . then cinnamon, nutmeg to the main batch.  I did add two pouches of certo (because this is only my 2nd time attempting jam and I was nervous it wouldn’t set!  It was so liquidy after only one pouch, is that normal?).  Anyways, Thanks so much for the recipe!  It TASTES AMAZING!!

  • Reply
    Karlynn
    September 11, 2012 at 1:19 am

    Thank you so much for the kind words! I am so glad that it turned out, aren’t they delicious berries?!

  • Reply
    Carolyn
    September 10, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    I live in Kenai Alaska and have a yard full of highbush cranberries. I’ve never done anything with them before this year when I decided they were just too beautiful to pass up. I found your recipe and tried it today…..WOW! Amazing! I’m headed out to the neighbors to see if I can pick theirs. Thank you so much for sharing this, my family loves it!
    Carolyn

  • Reply
    Karlynn
    August 23, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    There’s natural pectin that you get from the real berries that juice just does not have after all the processing it goes through. The pectin is released from the skin etc while boiling it.

  • Reply
    pophamc
    August 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    Thanks for the recipe… So far so good, I minced and tossed in a couple Habaneros plus a handful of cloves in the first boiling step..(pre-cheesecloth). I think it came out pretty tasty. I’ve made some runny Jams before but no Jellies… so I was a bit worried it wouldn’t jelly up.. But It looks like it did! 

  • Reply
    LolaMackendrick
    August 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    made jelly with 100%natural cranberry juice and it did not jell. What went wrong? used 6cups juice 5 cups sugar 1 pouch certo. Hope you can help\\\\\\\\\

     

     

  • Reply
    jam jar
    July 9, 2012 at 4:48 am

    I just make homemade cranberry juice whenever we have it in our home and you gave me a good idea. I can now make cranberry jelly, thanks for the great recipe.

  • Reply
    Judith
    October 4, 2011 at 10:00 pm

    You saved my ……….jelly!!!!! Last weekend my Husband and I picked 2 buckets of HB cranberries at our Friend’s place in the country in central Alberta. I cleaned them and washed them ……it took all day and then went to the net for a recipe. I used a Certo recipe for cranberry jelly……I have been making jams and jellies for many years……..and the jelly did not set……..all 25 jars!,,,,Soooooooo I went to my iPad and there you were with a recipe for HB cranberry jelly!!!!!! I remade the jelly with an adapted version of The Magpie’s and super success!!!!!!!! Thanks so much!!

    • Reply
      Karlynn
      October 4, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      Well that’s just fabulous to hear! Glad you saved it, nothing is worse than jelly not setting properly! I love the stuff, SO much better than the usual cranberry jelly, it has a taste all of it’s own.

      • Reply
        jennywren
        September 20, 2012 at 7:10 pm

        Can you substitute the powdered pectin for the liquid to make the jelly set?  Or perhaps natural apple juice with the cranberry juice?

    • Reply
      Janet
      August 8, 2013 at 11:42 am

      @Judith I have similar issue with this jelly last night…I went to check and it hasnt jelled…it did thicken but more like syrup…I used 4 1/2 cups of hb cranberry juice, 4 cups of white sugar, 3 tbsps of lemon and 1 pouch of liquid certo…I did pretty much exactly what the recipe asked me to do….since you were able to save your jelly..I’d like to save mine too…any tips? Thanks!

    • Reply
      JM
      November 6, 2017 at 4:46 pm

      @Judith – how did you adapt the recipe? My dad and I made this jelly last night and it did not set. Can we reboil? Add more pectin? Add more sugar? Sure don’t want all those berries and work to go to waste.

  • Reply
    Carol
    November 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Where can I buy some jelly here in B.C.? Does anybody from Alberta make and mail it???

  • Reply
    Kevin
    September 20, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Oooh, envy is bad, but what can I do. I picked a bunch of low-bush cranberry for the first time out by Lac La Biche this weekend. Talk about tiny yield compared to high-bush. I’m really, really, REALLY glad to see another local blogger writing about these!!!

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