It's like the stuff you can buy in the cans, only better.
This year, her eyesight is starting to go--the woman is 91, so give her a break!--so I made the batch, well, actually three batches because my brother went to Sam's Club and bought a 3 pound bag for Mom. I suppose I'll be the designated cranberry jelly maker from now on. I'm good with that . . . as long as I get her antique chinois.
What is a chinois?
This recipe is super easy. And if you don't get into the canning thing, then you can eat it immediately, or you can do what my mom does and pour melted paraffin wax over the cooled jelly.
1 lb fresh cranberries
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
Rinse cranberries and place in medium saucepan, add water and boil until all the cranberries pop, about 3-5 minutes. Pour cranberries into chinois or conical colander. Press liquids/soften fruit from skin. Return the thick juice to saucepan, add sugar. Stir and bring to boil. Boil 1-2 minutes. Pour mixture into prepared jars. Let cool. Use immediately or seal according to canning instructions.
Hints & Suggestions:
- Here's the dealio--Ocean Spray doesn't sell 1 lb bags of cranberries in the grocery store any longer. They are 12 ounces. Simply recalculate the recipe. 12 oz. cranberries, 3/4 cup water, 1 1/2 sugar. Easy-peasy.
- Cranberries contain a natural pectin, which allows the product to gel without the aid of an unsweetened gelatin product, like Knox Gelatin.
- If you don't have a chinois, then you can use mesh strainer or a large weave cheesecloth to smush the guts out of the cranberry skins.
- Cranberries stain everything. You have been warned.
- One pound of cranberries makes about 4 6-oz. jelly jars in this recipe.
- If you want to make it a sauce with the cranberry skins, then skip the smushing stage. Add everything into the pot and cook about 10 minutes.
- To change the flavor profile, you can add orange juice or cranberry juice instead of water, or use maple sugar or honey to sweeten, or zest an orange. Always taste for tartness and sweetness levels that you enjoy.