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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Home Canned Whole Cranberry Sauce

Canning Warning: I have extensive canning experience and can recognize canning practices that are not safe plus I do things like test for pH so I know my recipes are processed properly. One of my role as the author of this blog is to show you the safe way to can food as a way of economically filling your pantry. While I will push the limits on practices that the USDA views as quality issues aka aesthetically or texturally below standard I will not push the limits on their safety standards. Any canning recipe you get from this blog meets or exceeds the USDA recommendations. As I was surfing this morning I came across a lovely blog but as I read I was horrified! The author showed the method and the results for canning cakes in jars. Unfortunately this method came out around the time of the y2K scare prompting the USDA to issue botulism warnings for these products but the method and recipes are still out there in cyberland. The problem is the moist, anaerobic environment is ideal for Cholstridium botulinum the bacteria responsible for producing toxin that causes botulism. This toxin is odourless, tasteless and you can't see it meaning your product could be contaminated if not properly canned. Only a very little amount of the toxin ingested is enough to make you very, very sick or worse. Please do not be tempted to use the "canning cake or bread" recipes and if for some reason you receive one as a gift, please do not consume it!

Our Canadian Thanksgiving was celebrated on October 13th this year but I look forward to the week before the American Thanksgiving for two things: turkey and cranberries. Turkeys are a horrendous price here at well over $2 per lb. Awhile back we could buy turkeys in the US for 29¢ per lb with an additional $10 purchase during the week before the American Thanksgiving. So began the turkey runs. Now we can bring back one 20 lb turkey per adult per vehicle per trip but we can make as many trips in a day as we want. I had the larger deep freezer (now replaced with a smaller one) as well as a second smaller deep freezer and the refrigerator freezer. My goal was 6 turkeys for ourselves plus what ever anyone else wanted. This year I have the smaller but large deep freezer so we only bought 2 turkeys. With turkey comes cranberries and Sam's Club had fresh cranberries $4.47 for a 3 lb bag.


Cranberries tend to be available around Thanksgiving and Christmas here. They usually cost about $2 per pound sometimes more. I always pick up a few bags to freeze because we like fresh cranberry sauce and they are awesome in bran muffins.

Sam's Club also had Ocean Spray® Whole Cranberry sauce on 6 cans for $5.72 or 6¢ per oz. The fresh cranberries gave me a yield of the equilivant of 8 - 250 ml (half pint) jars at a cost of 6¢ per oz. Clearly I did not save any money on canning my own. What I did save on was the lack of additional salt, preservatives and reduced sugar content. On the other hand commercially canned cranberries normally cost 9¢ per oz or more and fresh cranberries can't be found so canning is still a good solution. An added benefit is when you can your own you are recycling jars instead of adding to the recyclers or landfill and for every can you don't use it reduces the energy to make that can.

Whole Cranberry Sauce

12 c fresh cranberries
3 c organic sugar
3 c water

Wash cranberries. Put the water and sugar into a large saucepan. Stir then bring to a boil. Stir in the cranberries. Stir in ½ tsp butter to reduce foaming. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to keep at a low boil for 10 minutes. Ladle into hot, sterilized jars. Wipe rims. Adjust two piece lids. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath (BWB) canner.

11 food lovers commented:

tweezle said...

You are so right about the canned cakes - bad if left at room temp. However, if you wanted a good moist cake, you could freeze the jars after they were canned. Personally, I wouldn't go to all that trouble, but for one that has a family of one or two, this is nice and convenient. Freezing would be the only safe method for these cakes.

I'm in the market for a Ph tester. What would you recommend that I look for - or maybe a particular brand that would be good for canning? I'm thinking of a digital for accuracy - but like everything else, I know some are more accurate than others.

Thanks for the great post!

Garden Gnome said...

Technically the manufacturer of mason jars does not approve them for baking in so I would only trust them to 240ºF the temperature of pressure canning. However, I do agree that baking them in the jars then freezing is more than likely a viable and safer option.

Since the only commonly canned food that tends to hover on the pH line is tomatoes, a pH meter or even paper is simply one more way to put your mind at ease especially when developing your own recipes. I'm the type of person who has to be sure so I recommend both pH paper and a pH meter. Realize when you are testing the pH you work always work with samples of the food you are canning and some foods such as beets and tomatoes can skew the readings using pH paper alone. I have a Corning Scientific Instruments pH meter, a ATC pen type pH meter and I use pH paper. As far as readings go the Corning is by far the most accurate but properly calibrated the ATC is also very accurate. Both of these require calibration using stand buffer solutions. Personally I prefer the Corning but have to admit the ATC is easier to use and more compact. The magic number for canning is pH 4.6. A pH above 4.6 means the food is low acid (basic) so must be canned using a pressure canner.


Tina said...

Thanks for this easy recipe! I am going to for sure make it.

Bob said...

I did a search for corning ph meters, and did not find any, where did you get yours, please?

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Bob, thanks for visiting. I bought my pH meter online. It is a PH-009(1)A pen type pH meter with a range of 0.0 - 14.0 pH, resolution 0.1 pH and accuracy +/- 0.1 pH. The brand is CE ATC. Along with the pH meter you will also need buffer solutions pH 6.86 and pH 4.01 or pH 9.18 for pH calibration. HTH

Bob said...

what do you think about the self calibrating pen type modles? have you ever tried one?

I will search for the one you have...I am very bad, I research these things to death...thanks for your time.

Bob said...

No luck finding taht model, or any Corning Scientific Instruments branded meters, that are a load of Hanna, that seem to come up in the search......

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Bob, I'm not fond of pH meters that don't need calibration especially for canning. Calibration means your pH reading is accurate.

My Corning Scientific is an older lab pH meter that is quite accurate. I got it through the university when it was selling off lab equipment that was being replace with new (lucky them). Here is a link on ebay to a pH pen meter that is pretty much the same as mine The black cap on the end protects the probe. You will need buffer solution available in lab supply or on eBay.

You can also use pH paper for testing provided the sample being tested does not discolour the pH paper. I recommend keeping at least one vial of pH paper on hand just in case you have a problem with your meter.

Garden Gnome said...

Sorry I should clarify on the meter ATC = automatic temperature compensation. You need this on the meter as pH will vary with temperature.

Anonymous said...

Just made a batch of cranberry sauce. Thank you for the easy recipe. I did notice it's a bit runny, but I hope it will firm up when it cools down.

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Anonymous and thanks for visiting. The sauce should thicken a little after cooling. I normally cook down to the desired consistency.