Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving is the time of the year for turkey. One of the best toppings for a freshly roasted turkey is homemade cranberry sauce. While opening a can is easy, it just doesn’t taste as good as a cranberry sauce freshly made.

Things you’ll need to make your own cranberry sauce:

  • 4c sugar
  • 4c water
  • 8c fresh cranberries
  • optional: zest from one orange

The process for making cranberry sauce is actually pretty easy and the result can even be canned for later use.

First up add the sugar to the water in a large pot on the stove. Apply heat and bring to a boil. The goal here is to dissolve the sugar into the water.

Boiling sugar water

Boiling sugar water

After about five minutes of boiling the sugar should be dissolved and the cranberries can now be added.

Fresh whole cranberries

Fresh whole cranberries

Before adding the cranberries make sure to give them a quick rinse in the sink to remove any dirt or debris. Now the cranberries and be dumped in and the pot brought back to a boil.

Cranberries in the pot

Cranberries in the pot

After a few minutes you’ll start to see, and hear, the cranberries bursting open. The mixture will form some foam on top which is normal. At this point the cranberry sauce will need to boil for about 15 minutes until all the berries have burst open and the liquid begins to form a sheet on a metal spoon.

Heating cranberries

Heating cranberries

I like the flavor the orange zest adds to the cranberry sauce so at this point I add in my zest.

Fresh orange zest

Fresh orange zest

At this point the cranberry sauce is basically done.

Bursting cranberries

Bursting cranberries

Since I like to enjoy seasonal foods all year long I ended up canning this batch of cranberry sauce, but you can easily freeze the cranberry sauce, or place it into the fridge for use later that day or the next day.

Freshly made cranberry sauce

Freshly made cranberry sauce

Have a happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the homemade cranberry sauce!

– Jason Snell

Canning Homemade Ketchup (or catsup)

Ketchup is a widely used condiment and tastes great on a hot dog or fries. The downside to store bought ketchup, or catsup, is that it often contains ingredients like high fructose corn syrup. My wife and I received several extra pounds of tomatoes and decided to make ketchup.

The great thing about this recipe is that it was easy to make and tastes amazing. We used the recipe from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Things you will need

Tomatoes
Chopped onions
Spices
Sugar
Vinegar
Coffee Filter
Canning/Pickling salt
Kitchen Aid Mixer with Fruit/Vegetable Strainer or a Food Mill

The nice thing about this recipe is that the tomatoes are sent through a strainer or food mill. This means the tomatoes only need to have the ends trimmed and the cores removed. The skins will be removed through the straining process.

To start off place the cut and cored tomatoes into a steel pot along with the chopped onion. Aluminum will react with the tomatoes and should not be used.

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Heating tomatoes for ketchup in a stainless steel pot

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Getting ready to start infusing the vinegar

While the tomatoes are cooking add your spices to a spice bag. If you don’t have a spice bag, as in my case, add the spices directly to the pot and filter out later with a coffee filter.

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Filtering out the spices from the infused vinegar.

Add in the cider vinegar to the pot. In the case of this batch of ketchup we used celery seeds, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, and whole allspice.

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Spices infusing in apple cider vinegar

Let the vinegar boil, and then remove from heat. Allow the spices to sit in the vinegar for at least 25 minutes. The spices can be discarded afterward.

Once the tomatoes have come to a boil reduce the heat and let them boil gently for about 20 minutes. Add the vinegar at this point and let it boil gently until it thickens.

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Reducing the tomatoes

After this has completed allow the tomatoes to cool. Next is when we ran the tomatoes through our kitchen aid attachment. The fruit/vegetable strainer makes life a lot easier. If you don’t have a kitchen aid mixer, or the attachment, you can use a food mill.

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Straining the tomato mixure

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Tomato pulp left over after straining through a kitchen aid attachment

After the ketchup has been strained return to the pot and add in salt and sugar. The book suggests letting it boil gently for about 45 minutes or until the volume is reduce by half. It took a bit longer for this batch. It all depends on how much water the tomatoes contain.

 

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Ketchup thickening on the stove

After the ketchup has thickened to the level you like prepare your jars for canning. Ladle in the hot ketchup and leave a 1/2 inch headspace. Boil the jars for 15 minutes, or adjusted for altitude.

After the ketchup has sealed stand back and enjoy your handy work.

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Canned homemade ketchup

Better yet, enjoy some of that ketchup on an all beef hotdog.

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Homemade ketchup with mustard on an all beef hotdog and whole wheat bun

Now you’ve got the ketchup down, on to making homemade relish and mustard… but that’s a post for another time.

– Jason Snell

 

Roasted Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seeds

Have we gone too far in adding pumpkin spice to anything and everything? No, not quite yet. So, with that question out of the way, lets get to the part where we take raw pumpkin seeds and turn them into delicious roasted pumpkin seeds coated in a sugary pumpkin spice blend.

Roasted pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds

Roasted pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds

Things you’ll need:

Raw pumpkin seeds
Oil
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Allspice

If you start off with an actual pumpkin, make sure the seeds from it have been rinsed and dried. Wait at least 12-24 hours after rinsing them before starting to roast the seeds. The pumpkin seed needs to be dry to roast properly.

Before starting on the seeds, because the first part is quick and easy, preheat your oven to 375F.

Take a cup or two of pumpkin seeds and place them into a bowl. Add a little olive oil to the bowl and stir the seeds until coated.

Take a baking sheet and line it with foil.

Spread the pumpkin seeds on the sheet, and once the oven is up to temperature, place the pan in the oven.

roasting pumpkin seeds

Roasting pumpkin seeds

Set a timer for five minutes.

You’ll want to check the pumpkin seeds every five minutes or so.

Pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven

Pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven

It will take between 10 and 15 minutes for the seeds to roast. You will be able to tell the pumpkin seeds are ready when you can start to smell them roasting and they start to turn a golden brown color.

Pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven

Pumpkin seeds roasting in the oven

While the seeds finish roasting take 2TB of sugar, 1/4tsp of allspice, 1/4tsp nutmeg, and 1/2tsp of cinnamon and blend them together in a bowl. If  you like more or less flavor simply adjust the proportions.

Pumpkin spice blend

Pumpkin spice blend

After the seeds are done roasting pull them out of the oven. Add the seeds to your bowl of mixed spices and sugar and stir to coat.

Voila, roasted pumpkin seeds complete, along with a sugary pumpkin spice coating.

Roasted pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds

Roasted pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds

Enjoy a fun taste of fall.

– Jason Snell