Canning Whole Cranberries

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A great way to preserve the unique flavors of cranberries is to can them. Canning whole cranberries couldn’t be easier.

Three jars of canned cranberries on a white board.Pin
Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Cranberries have such a short season. You begin seeing them in grocery store in October and most places are sold out by the beginning of December. We always grab an extra bag or two and pop them in the freezer, so we can enjoy them throughout the year.

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What you Need

  • Cranberries: You can use frozen or fresh cranberries.
  • Sugar: White sugar is fine, but you can use a less refined sugar or a sugar substitute, as well.
  • Water: You will make a sugar syrup to preserve the fruit.
Ingredients for canning cranberries. See details in the recipe below.Pin
Ingredients. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

How to Can Cranberries

Cranberries can be hot packed, cold packed, and canned in water, juice, or sugar syrup.

Hot Pack

Hot packing is the best method. There is less fruit float. Prepare the jars, lids, and bands.

Step One:

Pour water into a large saucepan. Add the sugar. Bring the syrup to a boil over medium-high heat.

See the section below for the quantities. If you use the cranberries mostly for baking, you can use light syrup. Otherwise, use a heavy syrup. This will give them the best flavor out of the jar.

Sugar and water in a saucepan.Pin
Add the sugar to the water. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Two:

Quickly add the cranberries to the boiling water. Let the berries heat in the syrup for about 3 minutes.

Cranberries added to sugar water.Pin
Add the cranberries. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

Step Three:

Quickly ladle cranberries into the jars, leaving a half-inch headspace.

Canning funnel used to add the berries to the jars.Pin
Ladle cranberries into the jars. Photo Credit: Binky’s Culinary Carnival.

For Raw Pack

Wash and sort the berries. Fill the jars with raw berries. Heat the syrup to boiling. Ladle the boiling syrup to cover the berries, leaving a ½-inch headspace.

Remove air bubbles with a wooden or plastic tool. Wipe the jar rims with a damp paper towel. Center the lid. Screw bands fingertip tight.

Water Bath Canner Instructions

Get the canner water hot, and add the filled jars. Once the water is boiling, set the timer.

Once processing time is done, remove the pot from the heat, carefully open the lid, and move it partially off the top of the canning pot. Let it rest like that for 5 minutes.

Then, remove the lid and allow the jars to rest in the canning pot for another 5 to 10 minutes.

After resting, remove the jars onto a kitchen towel placed on your counter and let them thoroughly cool for 12-24 hours, undisturbed. You may hear the lids pinging sometime in the next hour. This is music to a canner’s ears. It is due to the reaction of the lids being sealed to the jar.

Check the seals. Press down in the middle of the lid. If it flexes up or down, the jar is not sealed and should be refrigerated and used first.

Then, remove the bands. Gently pick the jar up by the lid to further check the seal. Again, if it is not sealed, use it first.

Label jars with contents and the date. Store in a cool dark place.

Types of syrup

Quantities of water and sugar in syrups

  • very light syrup – 6½ cups water to ¾ cup sugar
  • light syrup – 5¾ cups water to 1½ cups sugar
  • medium syrup – 5¼ cups water to 2¼ cups sugar
  • heavy syrup – 5 cups water to 3¼ cups sugar
  • honey syrup – 1 cup honey to 4 cups water or juice
  • juice – you can use apple or white grape juice instead of water to make syrup.

With most canning recipes that require the use of liquids, it’s a good idea to give the jars a quick rinse before storage. Sometimes the syrup (or food) may siphon (see more below in the section ‘What is siphoning’) out and leave a sugar residue on the outside of the jar where mold can grow.

Why did my jars lose syrup? / What is siphoning?

Siphoning is a common occurrence that sometimes happens when canning. Happens to the best of us.

It’s due to a large difference in temperature and/ or air pressure during the canning process. It is more prevalent when using water or syrups rather than solid products such as jams.

There can be a couple of reasons why siphoning happens, even with jars that have been sealed. The most common reason is not letting the jars rest in the canning pot after they have finished processing.

Another common reason is that the jars are not hot when the hot food is added. Make sure that your jars are hot when the food is added. Then fill your jars and get them into the canning pot as soon as you possibly can to avoid the jars cooling at all before placing them in the hot water.

It can also be beneficial to just have the canning pot at a high simmer, not a full rolling boil when adding the hot jars into the pot. Then, once all of the jars are added, crank up the heat and get the pot boiling. Once it’s boiling you can start your timer.

Carefully remove all of the bubbles to reduce siphoning. Also, make sure you have the proper headspace for the product you are canning. If a recipe calls for ½ inch headspace (the space between the product and the rim of the jar), do not fill it to ¼ inch headspace. This can definitely cause siphoning.

What if I experience siphoning?

Siphoning does not mean that all of your hard work will be lost, but there are a few steps to take to ensure that the food you are storing is safe for your family to consume.

  1. Check your seal. Press down in the center of your canning lid. The lid should not flex up or down; if it does, it must be refrigerated and consumed first.
  2. Does your food still look fresh with bright colors?
  3. Have you lost more than half of your canning liquid?

Even if you lost a lot of your canning lid, but the jars are sealed, and the colors are still good; they are perfectly safe to eat. Keep in mind, though, that if you lose a lot of the liquid and the food is exposed, it will lose color quickly and should be used first.

Try to follow these simple steps to avoid siphoning but know that you will still experience siphoning on occasion.

What can you do With Canned Whole Cranberries?

Although cranberries freeze well for at least a year, it is nice to free up the freezer space, and make them shelf-stable.

  • Make a spicy cranberry salsa to serve with turkey sandwiches or ground turkey tacos.
  • Make cranberry sauce- jellied or whole berry, the perfect accompaniment for Thanksgiving turkey or chicken.
  • Use them in bread like this pumpkin cranberry orange bread.
  • Make a delicious cranberry jam or jelly, like this cranberry jalapeño jelly.
  • As an added bonus, you have effectively canned cranberry juice after 4-6 weeks of steeping.

Helpful Tools

Jars of whole cranberries with cranberries on the board.Pin

Canning Whole Cranberries

A great way to preserve the unique flavors of cranberries is to can them. Canning whole cranberries couldn’t be easier.
See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
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Course: canning
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 3 minutes
processing time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4.5 pints
Calories: 221kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $5

Ingredients

  • 2 Pounds fresh or frozen, thawed cranberries
  • ¾ Cups Sugar
  • 3 Cups water

Instructions

  • Pour water into a medium saucepan. Add the sugar. Bring the syrup to a boil.
    ¾ Cups Sugar, 3 Cups water
  • Quickly add the cranberries to the boiling syrup. Let the berries heat in the syrup for about 3 minutes.
    2 Pounds fresh or frozen, thawed cranberries
  • Quickly ladle cranberries into the jars, leaving a half-inch headspace.
  • Remove bubbles with a wooden or plastic tool. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Center the lid. Screw on the band fingertip tight.
  • Process the jars for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude.
  • Get the canner water hot, and add the filled jars. Once the water is boiling, set the timer.
  • Once processing time is done, remove the pot from the heat, carefully open the lid, and move it partially off the top of the canning pot. Let it rest like that for 5 minutes.
  • Then, remove the lid and allow the jars to rest in the canning pot for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  • After resting, remove the jars onto a kitchen towel placed on your counter and let them thoroughly cool for 12-24 hours, undisturbed. You may hear the lids pinging sometime in the next hour. This is music to a canner’s ears. It is due to the reaction of the lids being sealed to the jar.
  • Check the seals. Press down in the middle of the lid. If it flexes up or down, the jar is not sealed and should be refrigerated and used first.
  • Then, remove the bands. Gently pick the jar up by the lid to further check the seal. Again, if it is not sealed, use it first.
  • Label jars with contents and the date. Store in a cool, dark space.
See all of my favorite tools and gift ideas on my New Amazon Store!Check out Binky’s Amazon Store!

Notes

See the section below for the quantities. If you use the cranberries mostly for baking, you can use light syrup. Otherwise, use heavy syrup. This will give them the best flavor out of the jar.
Adjustments for Altitudes
  • 1-1000 ft above sea level          15 minutes
  • 1001-3000 ft above sea level   20 minutes
  • 3001-6000 ft above sea level   25 minutes
  • 6000+ ft above sea level           30 minutes
 
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1pint | Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.02g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 12mg | Potassium: 162mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 42g | Vitamin A: 121IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.5mg
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Beth Neels

Author: Beth Neels

Title: Owner

Expertise: canning, game meat cooking, smoking

Bio:

Beth Neels is an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, author, and recipe developer. She founded Binky’s Culinary Carnival in 2014, focusing on “Crafting delicious recipes with sustainable ingredients.” She has been featured in multiple online publications, including MSN, Reader’s Digest, Associated Press, and Parade.

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