High-Bush Cranberry Sauce

2014 yield: 14 cups of highbush cranberries!

2014 yield: 14 cups of highbush cranberries!

So 2014 was a good cranberry year. After putting my cranberries in the freezer for a couple of months, I finally got around to making some cranberry sauce over the past few weeks. I spent a couple of hours measuring out the berries, boiling them until they burst, running them through a food mill to get rid of the seeds and skins, and then boiling them down with spices and onion until they reached the consistency I wanted.

It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, a simple recipe to follow, and quick to can.

Crushing the cranberries through a food mill.

Crushing the cranberries through a food mill.

One word of warning to those unfamiliar with these berries: High-bush cranberries are smelly.

When you boil them, crush them, and boil them again, it smells up the ENTIRE house. And your husband may come home and ask why the house smells like a man’s locker room.

Spices at the ready!

Spices at the ready!

Bake it down...

Bake it down…

Recipe:

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

12 cups fresh high-bush cranberries
3 cups onion, minced
1 cup water
2 cups white vinegar
4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon celery salt or celery seed
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper

1. Cook the cranberries in the water until soft, then put through a food mill or a sieve. Discard the seeds.

2. If you haven’t already, prepare enough jars for 3 pints of sauce by sterilizing them in hot water for at least 10 minutes.

3. In a large pot, combine the onions, vinegar, sugar, spices, celery salt/seed, salt, and pepper with the cranberries and boil until the mixture thickens to the desired consistency.

4. Once the cranberries and spices have been boiled down, pour the sauce into sterilized jars and seal fingertip-tight.

5. Process the sealed jars in a water bath for 15 minutes, or adjusted for altitude.

Even though these berries, raw, have the odor of sweaty socks, with these ingredients, the berries become a wonderful complement to red meats.

The strong flavor complements game meat excellently, but also accompanies steak quite well. Even our friends who don’t like steak sauces loved this sauce!

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