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  • The Local Project

Highbush Cranberry Jelly Is Amazing

Updated: Dec 6, 2023

Posted by The Local Project | Sep 21, 2020 | Foraging, Recipes

One of the tell-tale signs that autumn has arrived, high bush cranberry (Viburnum edule) comes to life after the first frost. Even if you think you haven’t spotted this bush growing in the forest, odds are you have probably smelled the berries – it’s a distinct aroma that people either love or they hate that permeates the early mornings of September.

The ever-abundant berries are easy picking, and best done after the first frost of the season to ripen them up. Highbush Cranberry Jelly is the perfect pairing for a fall dinner table filled with goose, grouse, or duck.

RECIPE Highbush Cranberry Jelly Makes roughly 3 ½ cups of jelly.

  • 8 cups high bush cranberries

  • 3 cups of water

  • 7 cups white sugar

  • 1 pouch liquid pectin

Instructions In a large saucepan, squish the highbush cranberries. This can be extremely messy (you might have red juice splattered everywhere by the end of it)– which can be hard to avoid but squishing them in your hands can help minimize the mess.

Add water to the berries, cover, and bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain through a cheesecloth lined sieve or a jelly bag, if you have one on hand, for at least two hours. Some say to leave overnight and to not squeeze the bag to end up with a clearer final product, but once the berries have cooled down, I usually squeeze as much juice from them as possible.

Take five cups of the juice and pour into a large saucepan. Add all the sugar (OPTIONAL: add ½ tsp butter to reduce foaming), stir, and bring mixture to a rolling boil. Add the entire pouch of liquid pectin and boil hard for one minute, being sure to stir the whole time. Remove from heat and skim off any foam.

Pour into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Using a non-metallic utensil, remove any air bubbles from the jar. Wipe the rims of the jars clean and screw lids on until hand tight. Process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes, remove and let cool on counter.

TIP: If you find that the jelly is a little too “loose” for your liking, simply place a jar in the fridge a couple hours before serving with a meal to firm it up.

By Raeanne O’Meara

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