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sickchangeup

Homemade "Canned" Cranberry Jelly Sauce

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Here's the situation: I want to make everything homemade for thanksgiving. My wife is game, but is refusing to budge on the classic "canned" cranberry sauce. Something about the comfort of that thing coming plopping out of the can (can lines and all) really does it for her. I grew up in another country and don't particularly get it, but I do need help.

Is there some way I can replicate this industrial behemoth at home? I get that I need a can as a mold. I get that I need cranberries and sugar (probably a pound of one, half a cup of the other). Presumably I need to cook it together, then strain it smooth. But how do I get it to mold? Gelatin? (how much per can?) Agar Agar? Methylcellulose? Willing to try whatever it takes.

Thanks!

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It will gel itself without any additional agents. Lots of pectin in cranberries.

Just take 3/4 lb fresh or frozen cranberries, add 1 1/8 cup of water and boil 5 minutes. Put through a food mill. Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and boil for 3 minutes. Pour into the clean cans. When ready to serve turn upside down and wait for the plop!

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I think 100% cranberry juice w/ added sugar might be better. Not sure about the jelling part. Maybe something like sure-jel( pectin)

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It will gel itself without any additional agents.  Lots of pectin in cranberries. 

Just take 3/4 lb fresh or frozen cranberries, add 1 1/8 cup of water and boil 5 minutes.  Put through a food mill.  Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and boil for 3 minutes.  Pour into the clean cans.  When ready to serve turn upside down and wait for the plop!

I guess that explains why the ingredients in the canned version just lists cranberries and corn syrup. Thanks, I'll give it a shot!

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I've got a simple question. I bought some fresh cranberries yesterday (for cranberry-infused vodka) and was surprised to see that the cranberries aren't juicy. When I squeezed it, it broke apart to show me some white flesh, and no juice.

Are cranberries not juicy (like a raspberry or blueberry)?

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I've got a simple question.  I bought some fresh cranberries yesterday (for cranberry-infused vodka) and was surprised to see that the cranberries aren't juicy.  When I squeezed it, it broke apart to show me some white flesh, and no juice.

Are cranberries not juicy (like a raspberry or blueberry)?

Fresh cranberries are firm and quite dry, as you describe. If they are soft, they're too old.

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long before the ubiquitous canned stuff made its appearance, homemakers made cranberry jelly and molded it in fancy, holiday molds made expressly for the purpose.

Or they used their grandmother's jelly molds and it was considered a minor art. Women competed to see who could un-mold the most elaborate shapes.

When the canned cranberry jelly first appeared, it was not always seen the way it came from the can. It could be melted in a saucepan, poured into a shaped mold and served up, pretending to be homemade. Or, it was sliced and gently cut into shapes with small cookie cutters into stars, leaves, etc. Sometime in the early 60s it apparently became too much trouble to hide the fact that this condiment came directly from a can so it was simply placed undisguised on a plate.

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long before the ubiquitous canned stuff made its appearance, homemakers made cranberry jelly and molded it in fancy, holiday molds made expressly for the purpose. 

Or they used their grandmother's jelly molds and it was considered a minor art.  Women competed to see who could un-mold the most elaborate shapes.

When the canned cranberry jelly first appeared, it was not always seen the way it came from the can.  It could be melted in a saucepan, poured into a shaped mold and served up, pretending to be homemade.  Or, it was sliced and gently cut into shapes with small cookie cutters into stars, leaves, etc.  Sometime in the early 60s it apparently became too much trouble to hide the fact that this condiment came directly from a can so it was simply placed undisguised on a plate.

Progress is a beautiful thing :-)

Thanks for the input, pretty neat info to me.

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It will gel itself without any additional agents.  Lots of pectin in cranberries. 

Just take 3/4 lb fresh or frozen cranberries, add 1 1/8 cup of water and boil 5 minutes.  Put through a food mill.  Add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and boil for 3 minutes.  Pour into the clean cans.  When ready to serve turn upside down and wait for the plop!

Take the 3/4 cup cranberries as above but before cooking, run them through the coarse plate on a food grinder or pulse a couple of times in a food processor to get a coarse grind. Throw in a handful of whole berries and add 1 1/8 cup water and boil 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar and boil additional 3 to 5 minutes and pour into cans. This gives a chunky version that my family likes.

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I've got a simple question.  I bought some fresh cranberries yesterday (for cranberry-infused vodka) and was surprised to see that the cranberries aren't juicy.  When I squeezed it, it broke apart to show me some white flesh, and no juice.

Are cranberries not juicy (like a raspberry or blueberry)?

Cut one fresh cranberry in half and it doesn't seem juicy. Put a bag of fresh cranberries and some sugar in the cuisinart and process. It will get juicy. Put in one orange and it will get even better.

I totally get the cranberry conflict. I grew up on fresh cranberries; simple as possible and very very tart. My mother basically followed the direx on the package: one bag fresh berries, one orange, cut up, and white cane sugar to taste (uses plenty!). Process til you like the consistency, put in a bowl. Add sugar as necessary, add chopped walnuts if you like. It seems to get more tart as it sits so I usually have to add more sugar before serving. It keeps well, so you can make it ahead. I love it and make it every year and bring it to Thanksgiving with my husband's family.

When I got married I acquired a father-in-law whose ONLY contribution to dinner is cranberry mold. He pulls out a Sunset magazine from the late 50's and makes a complicated concoction that uses canned sweetened berries, gelatin, celery, nuts and god-knows what else. Then he tops it when served with sour cream. It's awful! But that's me, and grew up on minimalist fresh tart cranberries. But all his grown-up kids and his little grand-kids love it and it wouldn't be Thanksgiving dinner without it. My daughter, my husband and one of my SILs would kill me if I didn't make mine. But everyone except me eats both and everyone is pretty happy having two kinds of cranberries. So I say there's plenty of room in this world for nostalgic old-fashioned molds and for something made with fresh.

And Andiesenji, thank you for that bit of cranberry history. Very good!

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I'm very curious to know how this turns out.

I'm thinking it is the consistency that is attractive in the canned version, as well as a certain dry taste -- in general, it is drier (in my opinion) than home made. Denser. Less juicy.

My mother always did the can and served it just like that, can lines and all, and we all loved it.

I make my own with orange and candied ginger and I love it, can't get enough.

But I can understand the attraction for the canned stuff, it is unique in flavor and texture . . .

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Your wife may not be pleased with the taste of the homemade cranberry jelly. As I recall, from the days my mother used to make it, the taste is much stronger (more concentrated) than the canned version. My observation is that most children and many adults like the milder stuff and will have nothing to do with the real thing.

Have a can in the pantry just in case. You'll still be "legal" in the sense that you did make everything, even though someone prefers not to eat it.

Yes, the cranberries jell by themselves. Just run the cooked whole berry sauce through a food mill to smooth it out. If you want to make whole berry sauce, add the sugar from the beginning of cooking and it will preserve the shape of the berries more.

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Thanks - and yeah, I'm gonna try it this weekend to see how it goes. Will need to buy a can to hollow out anyways, so I'll get to closely inspect the store bought version, capture the timbre of the plop and know what to shoot for.

As for chunky vs. smooth - however it comes out of the can is how I want it :-)

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OK, so I'm in a last-minute pickle. I've made cranberry sauce (two bags, ginger, orange, cinnamon, cloves, sugar to taste), strained it, and now I have a delicious sauce that won't gel. The only thing I have in the house is gelatin.

Do I just need to experiment with amounts of gelatin? Or can someone give this gelling novice a guide to rough amounts with cranberries? I was thinking 1-2 packages....

Thanks in advance.

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OK, so I'm in a last-minute pickle. I've made cranberry sauce (two bags, ginger, orange, cinnamon, cloves, sugar to taste), strained it, and now I have a delicious sauce that won't gel. The only thing I have in the house is gelatin.

Do I just need to experiment with amounts of gelatin? Or can someone give this gelling novice a guide to rough amounts with cranberries? I was thinking 1-2 packages....

Thanks in advance.

For a softer set/gel, you could use arrowroot or cornstarch. Either would thicken the sauce but not make it as bouncy as gelatin would. For bouncy, look up some recipes for cranberry-jello salads.

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OK, so I'm in a last-minute pickle. I've made cranberry sauce (two bags, ginger, orange, cinnamon, cloves, sugar to taste), strained it, and now I have a delicious sauce that won't gel. The only thing I have in the house is gelatin.

Do I just need to experiment with amounts of gelatin? Or can someone give this gelling novice a guide to rough amounts with cranberries? I was thinking 1-2 packages....

Thanks in advance.

How about taking it back and boiling for a couple of minutes more?

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Say more. What would that do? Just less liquid, or does it have an effect on the gelling? I had assumed that straining out the skins meant that there was less pectin or something. Feel free to set me straight!

ETA the liquid/gelling question -- ca


Edited by chrisamirault (log)

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Boiling again would thicken it slightly, but you're never gonna get "bouncy" texture out of cranberries without some sort of gelling agent. Knox unflavored gelatin...sprinkle half an envelope onto a little liquid to soften, then stir the gelatin into hot cranberry sauce. From then on, treat it like jello....pour into a mould, or into a jelly roll pan and chill. If using a jelly roll pan, cut the resulting sheet into interesting shapes (with cookie cutters, or just into simple diamonds or squares).

I would start with a relatively modest amount of gelatin, as you can get a too-firm set with LOTS of gelatin...you don't want to cross the line into rubbery. Plus, if the resulting mixture sets too softly for your taste, you can reheat it and add more gelatin and chill again.

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Or take maybe 1/2 a package of new berries - boil, crush, add your mixture above and boil 3 or 4 minutes more.

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Perhaps it's the "sugar to taste" that's the problem. I remember it calling for quite a bit of sugar.

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Well, I got it to gel all right, with two packets of gelatin. The entertainment value of the jiggly mountain was kinda fun at first. However, after a few bites, the lousy mouthfeel made it a lot harder to enjoy the sauce's character. Back to crushed berries next year.

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Sorry I didn't think of looking for the recipe before: it's right there in the circa 1956 Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook.

For Molded Cranberry Sauce:

Boil together 5 minutes: 2 C. water and 2 C. sugar.

Add 4 cups raw whole cranberries and boil without stirring util all skins pop, about 5 min.

Continue to boil until thick and clear looking, about 15 minutes. Run through food mill and pour into mold and chill.

My mother poured it into a vegetable dish instead of molding. It really is "Cranberry Jelly" with that amount of sugar.

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