Making your own cranberry juice is a great beginner canning project and now is the perfect time to give this recipe a try because cranberries tend to go on sale around the holidays. While there are many different methods for making cranberry juice, this recipe makes it incredibly simple because you make the juice in your mason jars. There is no mess and no stress in this easy canning DIY. Let’s dive in and I’ll show you how to make your own cranberry juice this holiday season.
Supplies for Making Cranberry Juice:
- Mason Jars (quarts or pints - whichever you like is fine)
- Lids and Rings
- Water bath or steam canner
- Hot water
- Canning funnel
- Jar lifter
How to Make Cranberry Juice in Mason Jars
- Start by washing your cranberries. Give them a good rinse, whether you are using fresh or frozen cranberries. I have used both and either way works out just fine for juice making.
- Set up your mason jars and start filling them up. If you are using quart jars, add one cup of cranberries to each jar. For pint jars, add ½ cup of cranberries to each jar.
- Now it’s time to add your sugar. If you’re using quarts, add ½ cup of sugar and if you are using pints, add ¼ cup. You can definitely adjust the amount of sugar if you find that it’s too sweet or not sweet enough.
- Pour hot water over the sugar and cranberries, filling each jar. Leave an inch of empty space at the top of your jar - this empty space is called “headspace” in the canning world. You need at least a ½ inch of headspace for this project, but I like to leave an inch because the cranberries may float to the top.
- Add your lids and rings and give your jars a little shake to mix in the sugar.
- Process your jars of cranberry juice in a water bath or steam canner for 25 minutes.
- Once processing time is complete, move the jars to a kitchen towel and let them sit overnight. You may notice the color starting to change immediately after canning. Over the next few weeks, the color and flavor will deepen as the cranberries continue to infuse your juice with flavor.
- After the jars sit overnight, remove the rings and wipe your jars off. Label the lids with the year and move them to storage.
For best flavor, wait 4-6 weeks to open your cranberry juice. However, if you’re dying to try it, you can go ahead and sample a jar after 3-4 days. Once a jar is opened, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator.
Benefits of Homemade Cranberry Juice
Cranberries have so many medicinal benefits - it’s rich in antioxidants that fight aging, it supports urinary health, and it helps balance hormones, particularly during and after menopause. Cranberry juice is also very rich in vitamin C, an important thing we need during the winter to help prevent colds and flu.
Why I Started Making Cranberry Juice
For years, I struggled with urinary tract infections. It seemed like I would develop a UTI at least 3-4 times per year. While I never struggled with UTI’s as a child, a childbirth injury left me vulnerable and after I had my first baby, UTI’s became a chronic problem for me. I tried all the supplements - yes, even the cranberry supplements that are supposed to be super strong and effective. They didn’t help. I would buy cranberry juice at the store and drink it every time I felt a UTI starting, but it never seemed to help and I would end up needing another antibiotic.
Then in 2020, I came across the idea for making my own cranberry juice and I decided to try it. Maybe it would work better than store bought if the whole cranberries were in the juice? That was my hope anyway. I made the first batch that year and fell in love with the process - it’s such a simple canning project and the jars of juice are absolutely beautiful. I put them on a shelf in the dining room to display because they were too pretty to hide away in a box in the pantry.
The real magic happened when I noticed that familiar feeling… a UTI was starting. I immediately grabbed a jar of cranberry juice off the shelf and I drank the whole jar over the course of 24 hours, just sipping on it here and there. By the next day, my symptoms were GONE. It worked! I was afraid to get my hopes up, but it seemed like homemade cranberry juice just might be the trick to keep me from killing my gut with those awful antibiotics multiple times per year.
The next time I felt a UTI starting, I tried it again and once again, it stopped the pain and urgency and within 24 hours, I felt fine. Friends, are you ready for this news… I haven’t had to take an antibiotic or go to the doctor for a UTI since I made my first round of homemade cranberry juice in 2020.
While I am not a doctor and I can’t offer medical advice, I can share my story and this worked for me. So if you struggle with chronic UTI’s, I would urge you to give this a try and see if it might help you too.
Frequently Asked Questions About DIY Cranberry Juice
Can I use an alternative sweetener?
I have never tried this recipe with an alternative sweetener. I considered honey, but I think the canning process and the high heat would kill any real benefits of using honey - and honey is expensive. I have a friend who tried this recipe and she used maple syrup instead of sugar (cutting the amount in half because maple syrup is SWEET!). She said it turned out beautifully so if you have a good source for maple syrup (local would be amazing!), you can definitely try that too. If you do try this recipe with an alternative sweetener, please leave a comment and let us know how it turned out because I’m sure others would love to know.
How long will cranberry juice keep after canning?
Cranberry juice will keep on the shelf for at least one year after canning. As long as the seals on your jars remain in place, your juice will be fine on a shelf.
How long do I have to wait before I drink it?
For best flavor, wait 4-6 weeks. But you can go ahead and open one and try it after a few days if you want to sample it. Just remember the flavor gets stronger with time.
How should I store my cranberry juice?
Once you’ve processed your cranberry juice in a water bath or steam canner, you should store your jars in a cool, dark place if possible. I don’t have a basement or root cellar so I store mine on bookshelves and it has never been a problem. Once you open a jar, store it in the refrigerator.
What do I do if my cranberry juice turns out too sweet?
Dilute it with more water! Treat it like a concentrate and just add some water. You can also use it like a cranberry syrup and add it to cocktails or mocktails. My favorite is to add a splash of my homemade cranberry juice to a fizzy glass of sprite or lemon seltzer water. It’s like the perfect cooling, refreshing drink.
My sugar didn’t dissolve completely. How do I fix it?
Shake it up! After your jars have cooled down and sealed, give them a good shake to incorporate any undissolved sugar.
What do you do with the cranberries when you open the jars?
You can eat them for a pop of extra medicinal benefit, or you can strain them out and use them in a muffin mix. Cranberry and orange zest muffins are delicious!
Have you ever tried making your own cranberry juice? If your method is different, I’d love to hear how you do it! Leave a comment and tell me about your recipe.