Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Cranamon Jelly

Good morning Jammers!  I trust you all had a “hearty” thanksgiving, we sure did.  From food, to spirit, to laughs and good times, “hearty” describes our weekend well.  We have so much to be thankful for.

I have so much to catch up on from my canning day with the ladies a few weeks ago.  Just a reminder, I did not really have a good working camera that day, I’m sorry.  Use your imagination, heheheee.  My last post was for the Crapple Jam and this one is for the second of the cranberry recipes.  It’s a cranberry cinnamon jelly and it was the first time I was getting to use my “make shift” jelly bag.  To set the mood for the energy you want to enhance your recipe with it is helpful to know and attune yourself with the properties of the ingredients you are using.  I am trying to cover as many of these as possible but am also trying to not repeat too much information at the same time.   If you want to know the associations of something that is not listed in a particular recipe, check out the “Labels” section to the right and look for the ingredient in the list and click on it.  It will take you to a previous post that discusses that particular aspect or ingredient.  Also, remember, an ingredient may have several properties but you can focus and draw from any one or more of those you wish.

For this recipe, I drew on the cinnamon for power and spirituality and the cranberries for protection and to ward off negativity.  I can imagine strands of cranberries with a few cinnamon sticks strung in sideways being added to a long pine garland and strung around the front door during the holidays.  What better way to protect and empower that warm Yuletide spirit that you create all around your hearth and inside of your home this season.  I can smell it now, can’t you?

Cranamon Jelly

2 pounds fresh cranberries
2 cups water
4 cinnamon sticks
2 cups sugar for each 2 cups juice

Put the cranberries in a nonreactive saucepan with the water and 3 cinnamon sticks, then simmer until the fruit is very soft and the cranberries“pop”, stirring occasionally.  Remove the cinnamon sticks and squash the cranberries with a potato masher to extract as much juice and flavor as possible.  Spoon the fruit and liquid into a scalded jelly bag or cheesecloth suspended over a large bowl, and let the juice strain through without forcing, for a few hours or overnight.  Do not squeeze the bag or the jelly will be cloudy if particles of fruit escape into the liquid.    

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The next day, preheat canner, sterilize jars and prepare the lids. Measure the juice into a nonreactive saucepan.  Add the right amount of sugar and the remaining cinnamon stick.  Stir the mixture over low heat until the sugar dissolves, then boil rapidly until the setting point is reached, 220o.  Stir from time to time to prevent the sugar rich mixture from sticking and burning.   

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Remove the pan from the heat and skim any foam from the surface and remove the cinnamon stick.  Pot the jelly into the hot sterilized jars.  Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp clean cloth and add the lids and rings and place jars in preheated canner.  Bring canner to a boil and process for 10 minutes.  Remove the jars and place on a towel on the counter and leave undisturbed for 24 hours.  Check the seal before storing. Use within 12 months.

Now notice, that in this recipe there is no added commercial pectin.  That’s because cranberries, like apples, have a very high natural pectin content.  The consistency came out beautiful.  There are other things that were left to be desired with this one, though.

I did not have a jelly bag so I improvised with 4 layers of cheesecloth clipped to a mesh strainer suspended over a bowl.  Now, granted, we did not let this one sit overnight but it did sit almost 4 hours and I was very disappointed in the juice results.  I know what happened and why…we let the berries simmer too long and the pectin came out and the whole mixture was gelled when we put it in the cheesecloth.  Another thing was that I forgot to soak the cheesecloth in hot water (called scalding).  For 2 pounds of berries we only yielded 2 cups of juice, which made only 3 half pints.  I figure, I came and I tried and the next time I will make it easier on myself (and cheaper) and go with a bottled organic 100% cranberry juice and see what my results are like. 

The flavor and texture are lovely and this will be gorgeous in my Yule baskets.  I will be making more of this one in the next few weeks and I’ll let you know how it comes out.  Till then…Be Blessed and Be Sweet!

5 comments:

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

When I made cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving I realized how much pectin is in these babies, as my sauce gelled with out a problem. I want to make cranaberry jelly or jam as well :) Good to know about the early gel on the whole berries, maybe best to use them in a jam :)

Diana said...

If cranberry juice is that rich in pectin, could the amount of sugar be cut? One to one is really more than I like to use.

Suzanne said...

@ Andrea - I actually froze the cinnamon infused cranberry "pulp" that was left and plan to add it to a nut bread recipe at a later date. Got any other ideas of what I could use it for?

@ Diana - you have to remember that the sugar is used for more than just sweetening our jams and jellies. It also acts as a preservative to keep mold from growing. I would hesitate changing the sugar content. Also the yield would be affected, too.

Elle said...

You might put the 'pulp' into a chutney, too. Don't have a recipe, but should be easy to find in blogosphere.
Love this jelly recipe...Simple spicy and sweet!

Carole said...

If you used cranberry juice instead of whole cranberries, would you need to add pectin?