Highbush Cranberry Jelly

Highbush cranberry jelly in canisters with cover

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Highbush cranberry jelly in canisters with cover
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!

Ingredients Needed:

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

ingredients needed in making high bush cranberry jelly

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.

squishing the fresh cranberries

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.

straining the boiled cranberries using a cheesecloth

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!)

lifting up the cheesecloth with the boiled cranberries inside

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

extracted cranberry juice in a pot

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.

a pack of liquid certo

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.

sterilized jars filled with cranberry jelly in red cooling rack

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

Homemade jelly made from the abundant Highbush cranberry!
4.67 from 6 votes
Highbush cranberry jelly in canisters with cover
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Total Time
1 hour
Course
Condiment
Cuisine
Canadian
Servings
15
Calories
386
Author
Karlynn Johnston

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. 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. 
  2. 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. 

  3. 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. You will get a good 5 cups of juice, and to this add your sugar. 

  4. 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. 

  5. 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 the 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.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 386kcal, Carbohydrates: 99g, Sodium: 4mg, Potassium: 45mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 95g, Vitamin A: 30IU, Vitamin C: 7.1mg, Calcium: 7mg, Iron: 0.2mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Eric says

    I’ve used your simple but, wonderful recipe for 5+ years and it always turns out great – I’ve included a quarter cup or less of regular cranberries – in the 5 cups of juice, it adds a little different zest. It is hard to get juice out of the regular cranberries it is more like a mush.

    This should be a great summer for highbush in northwest Minnesota near Pembina, North Dakota.
    We had a lot of blossoms in the swamp. Pembina is French Canadian for highbush cranberries.5 stars

  2. RLMRQ says

    She’s not kidding with the smell. My landlord gave me a big box of them and he was so proud and I was confused lol. They’re a tad offensive. I’ve never even heard of them. Recipe is spot on, adjust times for altitude, obviously. Really appreciate that the recipe includes HOW MUCH juice.

    Did a batch with chili paste as another poster mentioned, stick to 2tbsp, don’t be a hero, I did 3, I learned my lesson.

    Easy, simple. Thanks for sharing it!5 stars

  3. Barbara says

    A very good recipe. I modified it by adding 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce and the result was terrific.4 stars

    • Sandra says

      Can we forgo the 15 minute oil in the canning pot? Isn’t this just like making a raspberry jelly? No need to use a canning pot for that.

    • Krista says

      Barbara, what kind of chili sauce? The kind you use for eggroll sauce? Help me ;o)

  4. Lyle Connon says

    when we boil the berries we put approximately 1 to 1/2 cups in a slow blender. blend for a few seconds and put mixture through a large sieve. the jelly will not be as clear but it is excellent. less wasteage

  5. Brenda says

    This recipe turned out just great for me, delicious flavour! However I did have to alter it just slightly. I live at an altitude of 3000 feet. I used two pouches of liquid certo, which could be because my cranberries were very ripe and maybe didn’t have enough natural pectins in them. I ended with the two pouches, and boiled the mixture for 6 to 8 minutes. The consistency is just perfect, not hard and rubbery, and not runny like syrup. One batch made 10 of the small one cup size jam jars. I’ve made two batches so far, and it is so good that my husband is out picking more berries. Should have enough for two more batches, plus reserving some of the juice just to use as juice. A successful harvest. Thank you for the recipe!
    I5 stars

    • Brenda says

      Oh and I forgot to add as well that it is much easier to start your berries boiling before crushing them. NO MESS! Just use a potato masher with the small holes in it.

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