How To Make And Can Cranberry Juice

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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:

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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.

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 Place the juice on the stove and bring to a boil.

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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.

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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.

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 Wash your jars, your lids, and rings.

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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.

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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.

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Wipe off the rims of the jars so the you can get a good seal.

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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)

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Place the lids on the jars. Then 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.

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Place the jars in the canner on the rack.

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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.

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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.

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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?

  • Michael W says:

    Love it! I hate recipes that require strange ingredients or pectin, as I find such things difficult to come by on a homestead. I’m in the process of losing weight to join the Navy, and I’d love to have a home that’s completely off the grid when I get out (use pension and retirement funds for property tax, car insurance, etc.). The concept of being a hermit appeals to me. But I’m addicted to cranberry juice – the more tart, the better.

    • Lena says:

      Hey, you can make your own pectin by boiling Apple peels. Green apples, and grapples have more pectin than some other Apple types. I boil my green peels in just enough filtered water to cover, for about 15 minutes, the strain. Keep in the freezer and add a half cup to any recipe requiring pectin.

      • Jennifer Osuch says:

        Hi Lena,

        Yes, you can make pectin from apples. That’s a great idea for sustainability. You can read more about pectin here.

  • Katie Perkins says:

    You did not say how much water you used to cook the cranberries, and how much cranberries you used…

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Katie,
      Use enough water to cover the cranberries. I’m really not sure how many cranberries I used. The process is the same no matter how many you have.

  • Kimberly says:

    It’s even easier if you use a steam juicer (like this one) to steam juice the cranberries as there is no strainer required. Then you take the spent berries, run them through a food strainer and add to apple sauce for either cranberry applesauce or throw it on the dehydrator for a very yummy fruit leather.

  • Darcy says:

    Can you make this without the added sugar? I buy non-sweetened cranberry juice by the quart and mix it with water or other juices, or drink it straight, but it is very expensive. I assume that because of the acid content I wouldn’t need the sugar but have you tried it?

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Darcy,
      You don’t have to add the sugar. The juice will be very bitter but you don’t have to add the sugar, but if you are adding it to other things it should be fine. I have not tried it though.

  • Misty says:

    Do you know how much water needs to cover the jars when you boil them? I know some recipes I have say 1 inch over the top and others are two.

  • Joan Van Leeuwen says:

    Thanks for this information. I freeze pomegranate juice in the fall, but have run out of freezer space. I’m thinking canning the juice instead of freezing will be a great way to safe my freezer space. Juice is juice, right?

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      Hi Joan,

      Be sure to add lemon juice to your pomegranate juice so you won’t have any loss of flavor or color.

  • Suzy-in-Colorado says:

    Hi Jennifer, what a wonderful idea, and to be able to use up the cranberries I have in the freezer from last year.. no more throwing them away because I forgot I had them and some 3yrs later and some awful frostbite, I was heartbroken when I had to toss them.. I am going to have to check into the steam juicer that you mentioned above. It certainly would save me a lot in my kitchen fund if I did not have to buy store bought juice and I am thinking that I can use the leftover pulp in some wonderful muffins or as someone commented, I could dehydrate them into something equally as yummy. I have a juicer (Jack LaLane) but the process of juicing cranberries in so similar to your process to be able to extract any juice that I like your idea much better. Thanks for the inspiration… Looking forward to looking through the rest of your blogs. ~SuzyJC~

  • Jo Ann says:

    Have you tried other types of sweetners? I really am trying to keep clear of sugar but drink a good healthy juice that won’t flair up inflammation. Sugar is one of my main culprits. Any suggestions?

  • Great tutorial I love Cranberry Juice… I make one too but it is unsweetened… Puckering Good… Love your post…

  • Cynthia says:

    How long do you boil the berries?
    No added acid (lemon juice) needed?
    Thanks

  • Carla Terry says:

    I just found this recipe and I love it. Would I be able to combine grape juice and cranberry juice together and make a cran-grape juice like I buy in the store? I am definitely going to make some. Thanks Carla

  • Lynne Rouch says:

    What about using a steam canner instead of the water bath? It uses less water & gets up to temp faster!

    • Jennifer Osuch says:

      You could use a steam canner, but remember it only performs one task, whereas a canner can be used to cook food in. I try not to have an appliance in my kitchen that only does one thing unless I use them every day.

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