Making your own cranberry juice is a great way to use up any extra cranberries you may have laying around. If you are a forager like me, you have a stash in your freezer ready to go. Cranberry juice is relatively easy to make; it also cans and freezes very well. The best part about making your own cranberry juice is that you can control what type of sweetener and how much you want to add. The juice I am going to show you how to make is quite versatile. It can be used as a base for many different types of drinks or by itself over ice.
Health Benefits of Cranberries
We all know about the many health benefits of cranberries. Cranberry juice can help relieve symptoms of urinary tract infections, respiratory disorders, kidney stones, cancer, and heart disease. Cranberries have a tremendous amount of antioxidants. These all sound like great reasons to make some fresh cranberry juice.
Making Cranberry Juice
Here is what you need to get started.
This recipe will make 5 pint jars of cranberry juice. The basic ratio is one cup cranberries to one cup of water.
- 25 cups or 200 oz of fresh or frozen cranberries
- 25 cups of water
- 2 – Large Pots
- Potato masher
- Large standard mesh strainer
- Large fine mesh strainer
- Honey, Sugar or preferred sweetener
- 5 Quart Ball jars with bands and lids
- Water bath canner
Place your cranberries in a large pot and cover with water. Bring your cranberries to a boil. Reduce heat and allow cranberries to burst. I like to use a potato masher to gently mash the berries. Once the berries have opened turn off the heat and allow them to steep for about 10 minutes.
It’s time to strain. I like to do a two-step straining method. First, strain your cranberry pulp into the large standard strainer over a separate large pot. You can use a spatula to gently pass the pulp through the strainer. Once you have strained all of the juice, discard the strained pulp. Proceed to clean out the first pot you used to cook the cranberries; we are going to use that pot to do a second finer strain into that pot. Now pass the juice through the large finer mesh strainer until all the juice is in the pot.
Now it is time to add some sugar, honey or preferred sweetener. Place your strained juice back onto the stove and allow the cranberry juice to heat up just before a simmer. Now you can add your sugar, honey or preferred sweetener to taste. Make sure to allow the sweetener to dissolve into the juice. I use about a half cup of honey because I like my cranberry juice a bit on the sour side.
It’s time to jar. Ladle hot juice into hot sterilized pint jars. Apply and tighten two-piece lids. Process pint jars for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. Remove jars and allow them to cool. Finally date, label and store the jars in a cool dark place.
Having fresh cranberry juice on hand can make for a great afternoon drink on a hot day. It is relatively easy to make and stores well. You can often find wild cranberries by the lakeside and harvest them in the fall. You can read my article on how I forage for wild cranberries. Also, check out my article on dehydrating cranberries using a dehydrator. I hope you try my recipe for fresh cranberry juice.