When you’re preserving your harvest this summer, don’t forget to preserve something to drink! This homemade, unsweetened cranberry juice is cheap to make and lasts a long time on your pantry shelf.
Healthy, organic juice is expensive. But there’s a much cheaper option…make it yourself! When you make your own juice, you can customize it to exactly what you and your family like. Also, the sky’s the limit on how you can customize your juice!!
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When it comes to making and canning fruit juices, I like to skip the sweeteners. I will occasionally add different homemade flavored extracts like vanilla extract or almond extract (or both!) but for this generic recipe, I’ll stick with just berries and water.
If you want to add sugar or honey to make a sweet juice, you can add some to each quart jar before processing in the canner.
Tip: I like to order organic cranberries in bulk from Azure Standard and keep them in the freezer for making cranberry sauce and cranberry juice. (They’re also delicious in smoothies!)
Benefits of Drinking Cranberry Juice
Cranberry juice gives a boost to your immune system thanks to the vitamin C content. The anthocyanins also lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. But the most popular reason for drinking cranberry juice is to clear up or prevent urinary tract infections. Read more benefits here.
Instructions for Making and Canning Cranberry Juice
The basic recipe for making and canning cranberry juice also applies to making grape juice, blueberry juice, and similar other juices. And it is amazingly SIMPLE!!
Add some water to your water bath canner but don’t turn the heat on. Make sure to add your rack.
Fill your quart jars with one and one-fourth cups to one and one-half cups of frozen or room-temperature cranberries. Fill the rest of the way with warm, filtered water but make sure you leave an inch of head-space at the top.
If your berries are frozen, allow them to thaw before canning.
When all your berries are thawed, put your new, clean lids on your quart jars and tighten the bands to fingertip tight. That means you screw the bands on until you just meet resistance and screw a little bit more.
Put your quart jars in your canner rack, lower them into the water, and adjust the water to make sure the jars are covered with at least two inches of water.
If you have hard water and want to prevent mineral build-up, add a little bit of distilled white vinegar to your canning water.
Lastly, put the canner lid on and turn on the heat to start boiling your water.
Once the water is boiling, set your timer for 25 minutes to create a good berry juice inside each quart jar.
After 25 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Wait 5 more minutes and then remove your jars using your jar lifter, cool overnight, and store in your pantry.
Make sure to always label your canning jars with the contents and the date and remove the bands/rings from each jar. Canned food and drinks are best when consumed within 12 months because nutrition starts to degrade after that. It’ll still be safe to consume for years, though, as long as the seal on the lid stays strong!
This general berry juice will continue to develop a more concentrated flavor over the next month or two, so try not to open up your jars until it develops its full flavor.
When you want some juice…
When you’re ready to drink your juice, just pop open your quart jar, strain out the juice (you can eat the fruit or turn it into cranberry sauce or refrigerate or freeze them for smoothies), and either drink it plain or add it to other juices to make a cocktail. Adding mineral water also makes a fun, fizzy drink for the kids.
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