Canned cranberry sauce is so delicious and simple to make, there’s no reason to buy it at the store. This recipe makes whole-berry cranberry sauce or cranberry jelly and is easy enough for beginning canners. Be prepared for the holidays with this low-sugar canning recipe!
Canning Cranberry Sauce
I think we can all agree that it doesn’t feel like the holiday season without some beautiful, crimson, spiced, cranberry sauce made with orange juice on the table. Right?
The best way to make sure you always have this classic side dish available is to make canned cranberry sauce. Once you make homemade spiced cranberry sauce, you’ll never want to buy it at the store again.
I always like to be prepared for holidays, and canning cranberry sauce is a perfect way to plan for Thanksgiving ahead of time. It’s one less thing you have to make last minute, just like this freezer apple pie filling!
Related: Quick Pickled Cranberries
This canning recipe is low sugar, using Pomona’s Pectin. The water bath canning process is simple enough for a newbie, so if you’re not experienced, don’t stress! It’s really one of the best cranberry recipes!
The best part about canning cranberry sauce is that it’s shelf-stable, so you can make it once and enjoy it the whole holiday season or longer!
Canned Cranberry Sauce Recipe
This low-sugar cranberry sauce is not overly sweet and has the perfect balance of spices.
I don’t recommend reducing the sugar any more than what is in the recipe here, as cranberries are very tart. A little bit of sugar helps to bring out the flavor.
Fresh cranberries: Buy whole fresh cranberries for this recipe, it can stay as whole-berry cranberry sauce or is easy to blend into a jelly.
Orange juice: Use freshly squeezed juice from 2 oranges, or bottled orange juice as a substitute.
Orange zest: It’s easy to zest the oranges you are using for juice, but it’s optional if you’re not feeling zesty or are using bottled orange juice instead.
Calcium water: One of the packets in Pomona’s Pectin box will be for calcium water. Mix it up following the directions on the box and save the rest in the fridge for the next time you are canning.
Pomona’s Pectin: The box of Pomona’s Pectin will have 2 packets. One is the pectin, and one is for mixing the calcium water.
Cranberry Sauce with Orange Juice
This recipe can be made as whole-berry cranberry sauce or blended to make a jelly version, and they both taste just as amazing canned as they do fresh!
I always hear that cranberry jelly is not as healthy as the whole berry variety. In this recipe, both are the same healthier canned cranberry sauce recipe, except the jelly version is blended.
Prepare the Canner
First, prepare your boiling water canner for a water bath method. Put the canning rack at the bottom of a large pot and heat the jars in simmering water until it’s time to use them.
Then, wash the lids in warm soapy water and set them aside until it is time to use them.
Now mix the calcium water as per Pomona’s Pectin instructions, so it is ready to go too.
Make the Cranberry Sauce
First, bring the cranberries, orange juice, optional orange zest, and water to a boil in a medium-sized pot.
Then, turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook the cranberries until they burst and soften. This usually takes about 15 minutes, but keep your eyes and ears open. You’ll hear when they begin to pop!
Note: To make jellied cranberry sauce, blend the cranberries with an immersion blender after they burst and are soft.
Meanwhile, combine ½ cup of the brown sugar and the pectin powder in a small bowl, and mix them thoroughly.
Now add the calcium water, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice to the cranberries and stir them together.
Turn the stove to high heat, and bring the cranberries to a full boil.
Once boiling, slowly add in the sugar-pectin mixture. Make sure to stir the pot constantly during this phase.
Continue vigorously stirring the pot for about 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin as the cranberries come back up to a boil.
Once the pectin is completely dissolved, add the other ½ cup of brown sugar to the cranberries. Once the cranberries return to a full boil, you can remove them from the heat.
How to Can Cranberry Sauce
Using a jar lifter, place the jars onto a wooden cutting board or kitchen towel. Then ladle the hot cranberry sauce through a canning funnel into the prepared jars.
Make sure to leave about ¼ inch of headspace and remove any air bubbles.
Now, wipe the rims of the jars clean, and center a lid on the top of each jar. Apply the bands, adjusting them so they are just fingertip-tight.
Place the filled jars into the boiling water canner, making sure there is 1-2 inches of water covering the jars.
Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Then turn off the heat, remove the pot lid, and let the jars sit inside for 5 minutes.
Now, use a jar lifter to remove the hot jars and cool them for 12 to 24 hours.
Make sure to check that the lids are all sealed, they should not flex when the center is pressed. Now it’s time to store and enjoy your homemade canned cranberry sauce!
How to Eat Cranberries From the Can
Once you open up a jar, you’ll realize that canned cranberry sauce is just as good as freshly cooked! With the spices and orange flavor in this recipe, you can’t go wrong.
Whole-berry or jellied cranberry sauce can both be served as a side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any special meal. Since these are shelf-stable, they’ll be at room temperature when you open them up.
Eat cranberries at any temperature that you prefer, it’s just fine to warm them if you wish. I like chilled cranberry sauce on a turkey sandwich!
Once the jar is opened, store it in the refrigerator. Cranberries last quite a while in cold temperatures, about 2 weeks. Before they are opened, they’ll last on the shelf for a year or longer.
While you may not get the can ridges of nostalgic 1980s canned cranberry jelly, trust me, you won’t miss them. Homemade cranberry sauce is truly the best!
This canned cranberry sauce is perfect as a holiday side dish, on a salad for a little tart flavor, in a sandwich, or on top of pork chops. Cranberry goes with everything, in my opinion!
More Holiday Recipes
- Freezer Apple Pie Filling
- Fermented Honey Cranberries
- 10 Holiday Cocktail Recipes
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Pecans
- Mashed Butternut Squash with Maple Syrup
- Pumpkin Cornbread with Maple Butter
- Quick Pickled Pumpkin
- Roasted Pumpkin Wedges
Homemade Canned Cranberry Sauce
- Immersion Blender optional
- Prepare your boiling water canner for a water bath method. Put the canning rack at the bottom of a large pot and heat the jars in simmering water until it’s time to use them. Wash the lids in warm soapy water and set aside until ready for use.
- Mix the calcium water as per Pomona’s Pectin instructions.
- Put the cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, and water into a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to a simmer and cook the cranberries until they burst and soften, about 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine ½ cup of the brown sugar and pectin powder and mix thoroughly.
- Add the calcium water, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice to the cranberries and stir well to combine.
- Bring the cranberries to a full boil over high heat, then slowly add the sugar-pectin mixture, stirring constantly.
- Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin as the cranberries come back up to a boil.
- After the pectin is dissolved add the other ½ cup of brown sugar to the cranberries. Once the cranberries return to a full boil, remove it from the heat.
- Use a jar lifter to place the jars onto a wooden cutting board or kitchen towel and ladle the hot cranberry sauce through a canning funnel into the prepared jars. Leave about ¼ inch of headspace and remove any air bubbles.
- Wipe the rims of the jars and center a lid onto each jar and apply the band, adjusting to fingertip tight. Place the filled jars into the boiling water canner, making sure there is 1-2 inches of water covering the jars.
- Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the pot lid, and let the jars sit inside for 5 minutes.
- Use a jar lifter to remove the hot jars and let them cool for 12 to 24 hours. Check to make sure the lids are all sealed, they should not flex when the center is pressed.
- Pomona’s Pectin comes with 2 packets, the smaller one with calcium powder is needed to make the calcium solution with water. The larger packet has pectin powder that is added to the sugar while making this jam.
- For jellied cranberry sauce, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth after the cranberries have burst and are soft.
- Feel free to add more sugar for a sweeter cranberry sauce. However, I don’t recommend reducing the sugar as cranberries are very tart and a little sugar really helps to bring out the flavor.