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.
Recipe Updates: Ground spices vs. Spice bag
After receiving many messages asking for spice amounts for those not wanting to use a cheesecloth spice bag, I decided to alter the original recipe with ground spices so there is no longer any need for cheesecloth.
If you have used this recipe in the past and prefer using the spice bag method simply skip adding any ground spices and wrap up a few cinnamon sticks, cloves and a star anise in some cheesecloth and tie tightly with some kitchen string. Add the to cranberry sauce after the berries begin to pop and remove before ladling into jar.
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
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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.
For water bath canning:
- Mason jars: Make sure the jars are clean and that the lids are brand new. You cannot reuse canning lids.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Spices: I love using a combination of cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cardamom and a pinch of cloves.
- Salt: I find adding a pinch of salt makes this cranberry sauce even better. But feel free to omit if you prefer.
This cranberry jam goes beautifully with turkey, chicken and pork. It also tastes fantastic on toast or biscuits.
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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)
- 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 This is four 12 oz bags
- 2 cups water
- 2 oranges, juiced and zested
- 1 lemon, juiced and zested
- 4 cups white granulated sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- ¼ tsp allspice
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- pinch of salt
Make the Cranberry Sauce
- In a very large pot on the stove combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Continue to boil over medium 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 20 minutes. Just keep an eye on the pot and stir frequently to avoid scorching.
- 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. *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.
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.