Making your own cranberry juice and dried cranberries is an inexpensive and easy way to use cranberries when they are cheap and plentiful in the Fall. We buy several bags to freeze for making sauce throughout the year and use them fresh to make cranberry juice and dried berries for adding to muffins and breakfast breads.
To make juice you will need:
quart canning jars with lids and rings
canning jar lifter
a water bath canner or large pot for water bath processing the filled jars
saucepans or saucepan and teakettle
For each quart of juice you need:
1-1/2 cups of fresh cranberries
1/3 cup sugar
about a quart of boiling water
- Heat the jars in the oven at 225 F for 20 minutes
- Fill the canner with water about 1/2 way and heat on the stove
- Place canning lids in a saucepan with water to cover the lids and heat, but not boil, on the stove. This is to soften the rubber seals.
- Boil water for filling the quart jars
- With the canner water hot, the lids heating and teakettle water boiling, remove a hot jar from the oven and add 1-1/2 C cranberries and 1/3 C sugar.
- Fill the jar with boiling water, leaving 1/2"-3/4" head space at the top.
- Install a lid and ring. Hand tighten the ring.
- Put the filled jar into canner and continue filling more jars until the canner is full.
- Add hot water to the canner, if needed, so there is 1"-2" of water over the tops of the jars.
- Heat the jars using a slow boil for 10 minutes.
- Carefully remove the jars and set aside to cool in a draft-free location with space between the jars.
- After jars have cooled completely you need to examine the lids to check the seals. The center of the lid should be curved down slightly (concave). If it is still flat it means that the lid did not seal and you should store the juice in the refrigerator until the juice is ready.
- Carefully remove the rings and gently wash the jars.
- Place the sealed jars in a cool location for a month before drinking. After a few days the berries will start to spread their color and flavor. See 1st picture. After a month the entire jar will be pink and flavorful. See 2nd picture.
- Refrigerate after opening.
- For dried cranberries, please continue to the next step.
Step 1: Making the Dried Cranberries
To make dried cranberries you will need:
strainer basket or colander
cookie sheet (with sides is best)
spatula (pancake turner)
plastic storage container
Pour the cranberry juice thought the strainer into another container. Refrigerate the juice and enjoy whenever you want.
Place the berries on a cookie sheet. Separate the berries. See 1st picture.
Place the cookie sheet with berries oven at 200F for 3-4 hours. The berries should look like red raisins when dried enough. See 2nd picture.
Remove the cookie sheet and dried berries from the oven and let cool.
Place the cookie sheet and berries in the freezer.
When the berries are frozen, scrape them off the sheet and store them in a plastic container with lid until you want to use them for baking.