I promised a reader I would post this today. I honestly just started making this a couple of years ago, and there’s nothing very historical about the process. My husband oversees the making of the cranberry sauce the traditional way, but my daughter added a new appetizer to Thanksgiving Day that called for cranberry jelly, so I had to figure it out fast.
I make most of the food we eat from scratch. This has led to a lot of people talking about how extra I am. It is my party, and I can make life more work if I want to. I wonder if some of them would change their tune if they knew this was a habit forged by poverty. The one advantage that we country poor have over the city poor is that we had the capacity of producing food and storing it. That was part of the work of farming.
This recipe is ridiculously easy even if you don’t have an Instant Pot. It is my son’s favorite jelly now, so I buy up the close-out cranberries at the end of the season and make enough to last until the next cranberry season.
2 bags (12 oz each) of fresh cranberries, about 6 cups
1 cup apple juice
1 tsp butter (only for Instant Pot users)
2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons powdered pectin
- Cook the cranberries in the cider until they are soft. If you have an Instant Pot you can make your life quite simple by putting the cranberries and juice in for 5 minutes at high pressure and then doing a quick release. I add 1 tsp of butter to keep it from foaming up too much.
- Now do whatever you are going to do to process the cranberries. Put the mixture through a food mill, squeeze it through a jelly bag, or just give them a good whip in a blender and put the mixture through a strainer. It’s okay if some of the pulp from the pulp gets in there. In fact, it’s preferable.
- Put this juice in a pot. Mix the pectin and the sugar together and sprinkle them lightly across the surface.
- Whisk the sugar mixture into the juice and bring this all to a boil.
- Let it boil for 5 minutes until the bubbles start to foam a little and then pour it into whatever jars you are using. I don’t bother with processing this. It’s a small batch.
Right now, some of my American readers are going to raise an eyebrow because they learned how to make jam from some USDA home economist who makes everything too difficult.
To those friends I say, yes….you really can just mix the pectin into the sugar and just dump it in there. In the UK, you can buy jam sugar that has pectin and citric acid added. That’s what they use to make jam in the Great British Bake-off show.