“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…” And it’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas in many kitchens across the country as well! At this time of year cranberries begin to go on sale at discounted prices, apples from the fall harvests are needing to be used up, and so this Cranberry-Apple Sauce recipe is the perfect marriage for the season’s canning project(s)! While cooking and canning this delectable delight, the entire house will smell like Christmas potpourri, causing your mouth to water, and family members will try to sneak a taste behind your back. If you’ve grown up on the canned cranberry jelly off the store shelves and hate it, then give yourself another chance to taste a REAL cranberry sauce made from scratch, and you might just be won over! I used to hate cranberry sauce, but growing up my mother would buy the gelled canned stuff and slice it and put it on a plate. Gross! After making cranberry sauce/salads myself with fresh produce, I couldn’t believe the difference! Now I absolutely love it, and I believe you will, too. Let’s get started!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- Water bath canner (or large stockpot with a rack inserted to keep the jars off the bottom of the pot)
- Canning jars (2 pint jars or four 1/2-pint jars per batch)
- Canning equipment (ladle, funnel, rings, lids, et al.)
- Small-Med Saucepan to make each batch. (DO NOT DOUBLE THIS RECIPE! Make each batch as-is at a time. Doubling will cause the natural pectins of the fruit to be off-balance, and it may not thicken up as it is supposed to.)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- 12 oz fresh cranberries
- 2 apples (crisp and firm, such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp)
- To Taste: allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger
- Optional (for serving): chopped pecans or walnuts
Fill the water bath canner or stockpot with water, place empty jars into it, and bring to a boil to sterilize the jars. You can let it stay at a simmer until you’re ready to fill the jars.
Place lids into a separate smaller pan, bring up to a slight simmer, then shut off the heat and let them sit in the hot water until you’re ready for them.
To make the sauce: Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan, bringing it to a low boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved and the liquid is clear.
Add in the cranberries and apples, stir well.
Mix in all the spices (I did not give specific measurements, because everyone’s tastes are different: just use your judgement, but don’t be stingy with the spices).
Let this stay on a low-boil for 7-10 minutes. (Note: if you will not be canning this up, then let it continue to boil for a full 20 minutes, removing from the heat and letting it set up for 10 minutes before refrigerating.)
Canning instructions: Remove two pint jars (or 4 half-pint jars) from the boiling water bath, drain the water out of the jar if necessary. Using a funnel and ladle, fill jars to 1″ head space.
Clean rim of jars with a wet paper towel to remove any cranberry residue that may have spilled, and to check for any nicks or cracks.
Place hot lid and ring on the jar, tightening the ring “finger-tight.”
Follow the previous steps with each jar, and place them in the hot water bath. Make sure the water in the water bath canner or stockpot covers the jars by at least 1-2″. Once the water bath is at a roiling boil, turn the heat down to a simmering boil, and set your timer for 15 minutes to process.
When processing is finished, use a jar lifter to remove jars to a towel to cool and seal. Any jars that do not seal, repeat the canning process, or just put it in the refrigerator and enjoy it first!
To Serve: If you want it cold, place a sealed jar in the refrigerator for a few hours, then scoop it out into a serving dish and top with pecans or walnuts if you prefer.