Cranberry Sauce for Canning: This delicious homemade cranberry sauce is made without pectin and is safe for water bath canning! It is the perfect whole berry cranberry sauce for your Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners!
This Cranberry Sauce is one of my favorite fall and winter condiments. Using fresh, whole cranberries stewed with sugar, orange zest and spices, it is the perfect seasonal preserve and a fantastic gift for friends and family.
This cranberry jam goes beautifully with turkey, chicken and pork. It also tastes fantastic on toast or biscuits.
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What is water bath canning?
Canning is simply the process of applying adequate heat to high acid food that is sealed in jars for the allotted time necessary to kill off bacteria and micro-organisms that cause food spoilage. During heating, oxygen is driven out of the jars, causing a vacuum seal to form when the jars cool down. This prevents any outside micro-organisms and oxygen from getting back into the food. When done correctly, canning preserves food safely for at least a year, although probably much, much longer.
Safe Canning Resources
For the cranberry sauce:
- Large pot: Be sure to use a very large pot for this recipe as the cranberry sauce tends to bubble and foam quite a bit.
- Grater: I love this Oxo zester and grater and use it all the time.
- Citrus juicer (optional): You can totally just squeeze the juice by hand, making sure to catch all the seeds so that they don't get in the cranberry sauce. But I love using this Oxo Good Grips Citrus Squeezer because it just makes life easier.
- Spice bag OR cheese cloth and kitchen twine: You will use this to tie up the whole spices so that they don't get mixed in with the rest of the sauce. If you have spice bags at home feel free to use those. I typically just wrap the spices up in cheese cloth and tie it up tight with a little kitchen twine.
For water bath canning:
- Mason jars: Make sure the jars are clean and that the lids are brand new. You cannot reuse canning lids.
- Large pot with rack OR Electric Canner: If you only can once in a while using a large pot with a canning rack works just fine. As someone who personally does a lot of canning and I absolutely LOVE my Ball FreshTech Electric Canner.
- Jar lifter: You will need a jar lifter to remove the hot jars from the water bath.
- Funnel: I personally love this canning funnel because it also allows you to measure the headspace easily.
- Ladle: This Prepworks Canning Scoop is my favorite.
- Fresh cranberries: You can also use frozen cranberries if that's what you have on hand. Just be sure to buy the whole berries.
- White granulated sugar
- Oranges: You will use the juice and zest. You can substitute with clementines if that's what you have on hand.
- Lemon: You need the zest and juice.
- Cinnamon sticks
- Star anise
- Whole cloves
- Salt: I find adding a pinch of salt makes this cranberry sauce even better. But feel free to omit if you prefer.
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Made this cranberry sauce? Let me know what you think in the comments.
Cranberry Sauce with water bath canning instructions
- Large pot (for cooking the cranberry sauce)
- Cheese cloth and kitchen twine OR spice bag
- Water bath canning equipment: Large pot or electric canner with rack; mason jars and new lids; funnel; dish towels; jar lifter
- 3 lb fresh cranberries
- 2 cups water
- 2 oranges, juiced and zested
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 4 cups white granulated sugar
- 1-2 cinnamon sticks
- 1-2 star anises
- 2 tbsp whole cloves
- pinch of salt
Prepare canning materials (optional)
- Prepare a boiling water bath and mason jars. Place fresh lids in a pan of simmering water until ready to use.
Make the Cranberry Sauce
- Create a spice bag by place a few cinnamon sticks, whole cloves and star anise on a piece of cheese cloth. Pull up all sides and tie the bag closed with a piece of kitchen twine so that the ingredients are securely within the bag. Set aside.*Alternative method* Simply place the whole spices in a spice bag and tie up tightly.
- In a very large pot on the stove combine cranberries, sugar, water, orange zest and juice, lemon zest and juice and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat while stirring frequently so the the sauce does not scorch. You can simply skim off the foam that develops on top of the fruit. Once a boil has been reached, add the spice bag to the pot. Continue to boil over high heat for about 10-15 minutes until the cranberries have all popped and the jam develops a thick consistency. *Note* Depending on your stove, pot size and altitude this may take closer to 25 minutes. Just keep an eye on the pot and stir frequently to avoid scorching. *Note* If the jam seems too thick before all of the cranberries have popped simply add in another splash of water or fresh orange juice to loosen the sauce to your desired consistency.
- Once the cranberries have popped and your desired consistency has been reached remove the pot from the heat. Skim any remaining foam off the top.
To store in the fridge:
- Ladle the cranberry sauce into jars or another airtight container and store in the fridge for 10-14 days.
To process in a water bath canner:
- Ladle the cranberry sauce into jars (about 5 pints OR 9-10 half pints) leaving about ¼th to ⅓rd inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles and wipe the jar rims. Place on new, clean lids and bands and process in a water bath for 10 minutes (adjusting time for altitude). Turn off the heat and allow the jars to rest in the warm water for 5 minutes before removing and placing on a towel on the counter (do not place directly on the counter). Allow the jars to cool undisturbed for about 24 hours until all the lids have sealed. Store sealed jars in a cool dry place for 12-18 months for best quality. *Note* If any of the jars do not seal simply store in the refrigerator and consume within 10-14 days.