Country Lore: Alaskan Cranberry Jelly Recipe

Learn to love high-bush cranberries with this Alaskan cranberry jelly recipe.
By Kate McLaughlin
October/November 2001
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The right cranberries can make all the difference in jellies.
Photo courtesy MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors

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High-Bush Cranberry Jelly

4 pounds berries
2 cups water
7 cups sugar

Crush berries thoroughly in water with a potato masher and boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour mixture carefully into jelly bag or cheesecloth, hang and drain. Do not squeeze the bag: It will make the jelly cloudy. (You can squeeze the extra juice out later and use it to make cranberry juice or spritzers.) Let the bag hang for several hours or until juice stops dripping. Measure out 5 cups juice. Mix with the sugar in a saucepan.

Depending on how many partially ripe berries you have, adjust your pectin accordingly. An average batch uses a half bottle of liquid pectin or one 1.33 ounce package of powdered pectin. Bring juices to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Quickly add pectin all at once. Bring mixture back to a rolling boil and boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off the foam. Pour into clean, hot jars and process for canning. Makes 8 cups.

I hope you give high-bush cranberries another try before writing them off completely. They are considered a delicacy here, and patches are guarded zealously by devotees.

Post a comment below.


Andrew Maule
8/14/2012 3:49:43 AM
I realize this post is over a decade old, but after reading Samuel Thayer's "The Forager's Harvest," I wouldn't be surprised if John Venable had only tried the European V. opulus, which does not have a good taste like the native V. edule and V. trilobum.

Joyce Armstrong
3/24/2011 9:01:41 PM
Dear "Mother"....For those of you who still don't find High Bush Cranberry jelly tasty, try spicing it up with a shake or two of cinnimon, nutmeg and/or clove. MMMMMMM! JHA

Michael Boyter
8/16/2009 8:49:57 PM
Thanks for this recipe and information about high bush cranberries. We have lived in Alaska for 8 years now. We own one acre and we are just now realizing how many wild berries are growing on our place. We are picking and canning jelly like crazy this year. We are anxious to try this recipe. Mike and Sheri Boyter
6/17/2009 8:02:41 PM
I have 4 very large highbush cranberry bushes-loaded with berries. When are these berries usually ready to use? I am anxious to try the jelly recipe but don't want to rush the season.

Jonathan Goold
12/13/2008 2:19:01 PM
Thanks for the jelly recipe. We have a plethora of high-bush here around Valdez, no guarding of the patches for sure. Me and a friend were up at 50 mile moose hunting and we each picked 4-5 gallons in about a half an hour. We were hopping to make sauce for thanksgiving, but had to settle for jelly.

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