Canning Homemade Cranberry Sauce

I always forget something. Every time I plan a holiday meal, even when I write down every single detail, I forget some little part of the meal. I have forgotten to mash the potatoes, butter the bread, and heat the canned grean beans.

Homemade and Canned Cranberry Sauce

Homemade and Canned Cranberry Sauce

This Thanksgiving, what I forgot was unforgivable — I forgot the homemade cranberry sauce!

Canned Sauce?

Every year in my family we joke about the importance of the cranberry sauce. Does anyone really like the canned, slightly tinny, and somewhat watery log of cranberry jelly that we grew up sliding out onto a plate? Evidently there’s more to love than the premeasured “slice here” lines because every year the majority of the family argues for the can.

Fresh Sauce?

A few years ago “Martha Stewart Living” published a whole-cranberry sauce that included orange and ginger. I made it and was amazed at how good cranberry sauce could taste! Since that discovery, I’ve started serving both types of sauce. Hubby or sis can slice the stuff in the can while I spoon out freshly made whole-berry orange-accented sauce.

This year Thanksgiving was a low-key affair. My sister recently moved out west, and Dad had to work a few hours that morning, so Tim and I were on our own. This meant we didn’t have to eat at a certain time, which was very liberating! We put the turkey in the oven around 11:00 am, added some potatoes a couple of hours later, and put in the rest of the sides while the turkey rested. I planned to make the cranberry sause the night before, but I was sidetracked. I figured I’d do it the next morning, but I somehow completely forgot. Yes, even with a few bags of fresh cranberries staring at me every time I opened the fridge, I managed to forget to make the sauce. So Tim opened his can, sliced his “sauce,” and we had only one sauce Thanksgiving day.

Home Canned Sauce!

Today I made sure that doesn’t happen at Christmas. Using a recipe in the “Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving” (the “yellow book”), I made three half-pints of cranberry jelly that should slide out of the jar with ease. The little log won’t have preformed ridges, but I’m sure we can manage to slice it just as well.

I also used the book’s whole-berry sauce as the basis of an orange-flavored sauce. I followed the recipe, but when it began to thicken, I added one orange, supremed and chopped. Once it again thickened, I added the zest of the orange. I canned 4 half-pints of this yummy sauce, but I’ve already cracked one open and enjoyed it next to some leftovers. Even better, I’ve slathered it on a piece of buttered homemade bread — delicious!

In our family we have turkey on Thanksgiving and we have both turkey and ham on Christmas day. One part of my meal is now done!

Are you a canned-sauce or fresh-sauce person?

*** This site is comprised solely of the opinions of its author, Stacey Morgan Smith. She works to promote gardening and tourism in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, from Roanoke to the Potomac River.***

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