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Saturday, 15 December 2012

Cranberries

Have you bought your cranberries yet.  I always buy some at this time of year as I make my own Cranberry and Apple jelly to go ostensibly with the Christmas Turkey, however in reality what usually happens is that I make a lot of fresh cranberry and orange sauce/relish to go with the main event and then to be eaten up with cold cuts over the next few days and then when the Cranberries are reduced either just before Christmas or Just after I buy a load more and then turn them into Cranberry and Apple Jelly for the coming year as Cranberry sauce is used a lot in this household whether a smidgeon is popped into flavour gravy, used in sandwiches or an addition to a sauce lets just say I usually go through quite a lot of it.

Its quite funny really as I was less than impressed on my first introduction to it as to my darling father was putting Jam on his Turkey.  It did not help that my mother was less than impressed at that stage too and a child always looks to its parents for reassurance so when they were both not singing from the same hymn sheet it used to make us cautious.  However dad did persuade me to try some and after that initial tasting I liked it and it became a firm addition to the family traditions.  Even mum grew to like it.

However I went on to make it myself as I became very frustrated with the size of the jars and having to feed a family the jars did not last five minutes and they started to become readily available so I set to and made my own.  I am still using the initial recipe I used when I first set out as it has turned out to be a good one.

Ingredients:

3lb cooking apples
2lb fresh cranberries
2 pints of water
2lb sugar

Makes approximately 3 1/2lb

  1. Cut out any bruised or damaged parts from the apples then coarsley chop the apples wthout peeling or coring them.  Might as well save yourself some work where you can.
  2. Put the apples into a preserving pan with the fresh cranberries.
  3. Pour in the water just to cover the level of the fruit in your pan adding a little more if necessary.  Simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until the fruits are very soft and pulpy.
  4. While the apples and the cranberries are cooking prepare a jelly bag for straining the fruits by scalding the jelly bag by evenly pouring through boiling water.  Squeeze it well. Then suspend over a non metal bowl. (I use glass or pottery).
  5. Ladle the fruit pulp which will now be a glorious red and leave to strain for a few hours (I normally leave overnight) but no longer than 24 hours.  Make sure that the jelly bag is not squeezed or shaken while the pulp is straining or the jelly will be cloudy which will affect the appearance of the jelly.
  6. Measure the strained juice and for each 1 pint of juice weigh out 1lb of sugar.  Pour the juice into a clean preserving pan.  Warm the sugar through (I place in a bowl in the oven to warm through) and then add  to the juice.  Stir over a low heat until all the sugar is dissolved with a wooden spoon.
  7. Once sugar dissolved inrcease the heat and boil  rapidly without stirring for 10 to 12 minutes or until the jelly reaches setting point.  Don't panic if it takes a little longer (sometimes a little less) .  Skim off any scum (but what I do is add a nob of butting during the boiling stage if scum starts to form as this acts as a defoamer and removes the bulk of it although not completely).
  8. Pot the jelly once set is achieved into warmed sterilised jars.  Seal the jars and label.
 PS.  Do not discard the pulp I will pop a recipe up fro cranberry and apple cheese later on - we want the maximum amount of produce out of our ingredients and there is no point in wasting anything.

I make a couple of batches of this at least to last the year.  I know it is making work at this time of year when so much is going on but to take advantage of seasonal foods we sometimes have put a bit of effort in so that we reap the maximum rewards for our families.  Makes a very good extra Christmas presssie.

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