Cranberry juice is simple and easy to make and can. If you have some cranberries lingering in your freezer from last season, here is an almost effortless way to use them or add them to your off-grid food storage. First, starting with fresh or frozen cranberries, boil them until they all pop. Go here for directions on how to boil them. Be sure to scroll to the bottom to see how I boiled the cranberries. Since I actually got my juice while experimenting with another project, I boiled the cranberries then stored the juice in the refrigerator for a few days. I had roughly one gallon of juice from boiling my cranberries. To make and can the cranberry juice here is what I did step by step:
I strained my juice. You don't have to if you like bits of cranberries in your juice. It is a matter of personal preference.
Place the juice on the stove and bring to a boil.
I added to two cups of sugar but you can add more if you like. Everyone in my family likes tart juice, however, if you are used to the cranberry cocktail you buy in the store you might need to add a bit more sugar.
Sterilizing jars and lids is not necessary for processing times of 10 minutes or longer, I place them in the oven at 200 degrees to keep them warm.
Wash your jars, your lids, and rings.
Fill you jars with juice. I used pint size jars for this batch because I am going to give them to my mother and this is the perfect size for her to have two servings. If I were canning the juice for my family I would use quart size jars.
Cranberry juice needs 1/4 inch head space. Headspace is the distance between the jar and the lid; this handy tool helps measure. You can use the other end to get out air bubbles if you are canning fruit. Here you can see I have a few air bubbles on the top, but they are no big deal so I just left them. If are giving the juice as a gift you can scoop them out with a spoon.
Wipe off the rims of the jars so the you can get a good seal.
Remove the rings from the pot. This tool has a magnet on the end that makes it easier to grab the rings and the lids. (Update: Ball no longer recommends doing this. So after you've washed your lids just place them in a bowl and set them aside until your ready to use them)
Place the lids on the jars.
Place the rings on the jars and tighten “finger tight.” Finger tight means not too tight and not too loose. Just tighten them as far as they will go without forcing them.
Place the jars in the canner on the rack.
Lower them down. Here I have eight pint jars in my water bath canner. Bring the water to a boil and start the timer. Cranberry juice should be processed (boiled) for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. You can find adjustments for altitude here. To look up your altitude go here. Turn off the heat and let the jars sit in the water for about 5 minutes.
Then remove the jars from the canner. The jars will be hot! Let your jars sit and cool for at least eight hours, then remove the rings. If the rings stay on and the lid fails (becomes unsealed) and the ring is still on, the lid may reseal itself. However, bacteria has already invaded the jar and the juice should not be consumed, with the ring left on there is no way you will know about the resealing. If the rings are off the lid has no pressure to reseal itself so if the lid seal fails then you’ll know and you can throw that jar out. Label and put away.
My boys got so some of the juice before I could give it to my mom.....:) Can you guess this is a common occurrence in my house?