Cranberry Jelly

I promised a friend I would post this today.  I honestly just started making this a couple of years ago. My husband is in charge of the cranberry sauce and he makes it with whole fruit, but my daughter added a new appetizer to Thanksgiving Day that called for cranberry jelly. So I had to figure it out.

I make most food we eat from scratch. I know seems over the top, but its my party and I can make it more work if I want to. This is ridiculously easy though even if you don’t have an Instant Pot.  It is my son’s favorite jelly now so I buy up the close-out cranberries at the end of the season and make enough to last until the next cranberry season.

Ingredients

  • 2 bags (12 oz each) fresh cranberries, about 6 cups
  •  1 cup apple juice
  • 1 tsp butter (only for InstantPot users)
  •  2 cups sugar
  •  3 tablespoons powdered pectin

Directions

  1. Cook the cranberries in the cider until they are soft.  If you have an Instant Pot you can make your  life very simple by putting them in there for 5 minutes at high pressure and then doing a quick release. I add 1 tsp of butter to keep it from foaming up too much.
  2. Now do whatever you are going to do to strain the juice. Put  the mixture through a food mill, squeeze it through a jelly bag ,or just put them in a strainer and press all the juice out. It’s okay if some of the pulp from the berries gets in there.  In fact, it’s preferable.
  3. Put this juice in a pot.   Mix the pectin and the sugar together, stir them into the juice and bring this all to a boil.  Let it boil for a few minutes until the bubbles start to foam a little and the pour it into whatever jars you are using.  It’s not a huge recipe, it will only make five or six jelly jars full.
  4. I think right now some of my Americans readers are going to  raise an eyebrow because they learned how to make jam from some USDA home economist who makes everything too difficult. You really can just mix the pectin into the sugar and just dump it in there.  In the UK, you can buy jam sugar that has pectin and citric acid added.  That’s what they use to make jam in the Great British Bake-off show.

Also I have had so many people arguing with me that “of course Gerard did not write about serving cranberry sauce  with meat” that I am just preemptively  posting this picture from my book right here.  The entry for ” Marish whorts or fenne-berries”  starts on page 1419.   Jeez, people like I would say something without a citation. 

Grandma Guillan’s Chili Sauce Recipe

Steve’s grandmother’s maiden name is Ghilain,  a spelling that was probably mangled by US census takers because it changes as you go back generations.  Her grandfather was a John Guillan who lived near Dundee around 1827. We don’t know much more about the family except that John was a farmer/butcher known for his skill in curing pork.

Anyway,  I love the woman dearly, but since she’s not much of a cook.  (Seriously, she’s famous for spaghetti ala Grandma which entails adding hamburger and onions to FrancoAmerican spaghetti.) So I assume that this recipe is probably  great-grandmother’s.

I doubt it goes further back than that, because I don’t think it’s a particularly UK-ish type sauce.  Although  chili sauce and A1 sauce are similar to the brown sauce  they use in the UK as a condiment.  In Edinburgh, they thin it down with malt vinegar and serve it on fish and chips. Basically you use any of them way you would ketchup.

I don’t like ketchup, but I do like this because its tangier.  Steve really likes it on the black-eyed peas we make for New Year’s Eve.

I have tweaked it ever so slightly (I can’t help myself) because I use fresh ginger and cayenne, but other than that I’ve left it alone.

1 peck of tomatoes (around 13 lbs of tomatoes)
2 cups ground onions
1 cup bell peppers
2 cups brown sugar
3 cups apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup salt
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
1 teaspoon cayenne flakes (I use a bit of freshly chopped)
1 tsp allspice
3 teaspoons cinnamon chips
1 teaspoon  cloves

I begin this recipe by processing the peck of tomatoes the same way I would for plain tomato sauce, I cut off the stems and any bad spots.  I weigh mine after I do this, so I only used 12 pounds.

Then I put them in a stainless-steel pot with 2 cups of water and I heat them over medium heat until they are quite liquid.   Then I put them through our food mill.

I still don’t know about this contraption, I think I like my food mill better. I only get it out for large batches. If you use one of these things, run the pulp it spits out as waste through a few times to make sure you are getting everything.

Once I have the proto-sauce made,  I put it in my stainless-steel brew pot with a thick bottom.  Grandma’s recipe called for tying the herbs up in a bundle, so I grind them up just a bit and put them in a muslin hops bag and tie it to the handle like this.

One benefit of being married to a homebrewer is that I have dozens of these bags.

Thenm chop of the other vegetables and add them. You just simmer this until it has reduced to about half. I am not going to mislead you, this takes a long time.  Think of it as a tomato decoction, and while simmering them for this long does vitamin C content, it raises the amount of bio-available lycopene and other antioxidants, substantially.

Ladle the sauce into sterilized pint jars.  Process with hot water bath method for 10 minutes. This should boil down to about 7 pints of sauce.