Monday, September 26, 2011
Highbush Cranberry Jelly
How was it that I ended up not only picking 4 cups of these berries, but bringing them into my house and cooking them? I blame it on Hank Shaw. That's right that Hank Shaw from Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook. It is his fault. I have been a fan of Hank's site for a couple of years now. I finally had the opportunity to meet him (only for a brief moment) at Blogher Food in Atlanta last spring. The one piece of advice he had for me was that I needed to try the moose meatballs from his site. He said, "they will blow your mind". So, I patiently waited for moose season to come around in Alaska. We don't hunt ourselves, but someone usually kindly offers us a little moose meat each season. A couple of weeks ago I finally found myself with the moose meat I had been waiting for. This is when I realized that Hank's recipe called for one dreaded ingredient, highbush cranberry jelly. Now, to be fair he did mention I could substitute lowbush cranberry (lingonberry) jelly. I really wanted to try the recipe as it was intended. I suffered through the picking, and jelly making, and even as I took the photos for this post. In the end I was glad I did, the meatballs were amazing, but it was the sauce that really made the dish. The highbush cranberry added a real earthy taste. I don't see myself smearing this jelly on toast anytime soon, but I will be making the meatballs and the highbush cranberry sauce again for sure.
Highbush Cranberry Jelly
adapted from Alaska's Wild Berries
4 cups cleaned highbush cranberries
3 cups sugar
1 1/2 ounces liquid pectin
Combine berries with 1 cup water. Bring to simmer and crush berries using a potato masher. Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let mixture cool slightly. Place in jelly bag or layers of cheesecloth in a colander. Let the juice drip into a bowl. Do not twist or press as your juice will become cloudy. This should yield two cups of juice.
Sterilize four half pint canning jars and prepare lids. Measure out your liquid pectin and set aside. Combine juice and sugar in a large saucepan. Place on high heat; stir constantly and bring to a full rolling boil. Add the liquid pectin and bring back to a hard boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and quickly skim off foam. Immediately pour hot jelly into hot canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe jar rims and put on lids. Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.