Home “Canned” Cranberry Sauce Made in a Tin Can Mold

"canned" homemade cranberry sauce

This little fish-shaped dish is my family’s cranberry sauce server. It is simply the perfect size for a can of cranberry jelly. I grew up with a clear glass one that my mom still has and a few years ago, when I found this milk glass version at a thrift store for $1.50, I snatched like it was the most valuable thing in the store. To me, it was.

"canned" homemade cranberry sauce

The only wrinkle in this tradition is the fact that I gave up commercially made cranberry sauce a few years ago. I make so many preserves that it seemed silly to continue to buy this particular one. What’s more, most of the store bought stuff is made with high fructose corn syrup, a substance I try to avoid when possible.

"canned" homemade cranberry sauce

So this year, I decided to do something a little silly in order to satisfy my desire to slide a can-shaped tube of cranberry sauce into my little fish dish. I made a batch from scratch and molded it into the can shape using BPA-free cans. I searched out a neutral-tasting food so that the cans wouldn’t impart any additional flavor to the jelly (these cannellini beans were perfect and tasted so good in a batch of sausage and kale soup). I also made sure to find a can that had a flat bottom, so that I could use a can opener on it in the event that the jelly was hesitant to exit the can.

4 cups cranberries

I made a very basic cranberry jelly. Combine 5 cups whole cranberries with 3 cups granulated white sugar, 1 cup apple cider and the juice of 1 lemon in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and cook until the cranberries burst, stirring regularly. If it begins to look too thick, add a splash more water.

"canned" homemade cranberry sauce

Fit a food mill with its finest screen. When cranberries are finished cooking, pour them into the bowl of the food mill and work them through. You could also use a fine mesh sieve and a rubber scraper if you don’t have a food mill. Continue to mill the cranberries until all that remains in the bowl of the food mill is seeds and skins.

"canned" homemade cranberry sauce

Set a wide mouth funnel into your well-cleaned cans and scrape the warm cranberry sauce into the can, leaving a bit of space at the top.

"canned" homemade cranberry sauce

Cover the filled cans with foil or plastic wrap and place them the fridge to set. If you can, give them at least 12 hours of chilling for optimum molding.

"canned" homemade cranberry sauce

Just before you’re ready to serve, gather your equipment. Can of molded cranberry sauce. Butter knife. Can opener. And the all-important fish dish.

"canned" homemade cranberry sauce

Carefully slide the butter knife down along the side of the cranberry jelly and run it in a complete circle to loosen. Take care when you to this so you don’t end up slicing all the can ridges off the jelly. They are part of the joy. Once the sauce has been loosened, invert the can into your dish and give it a little wiggle.

"canned" homemade cranberry sauce

Sometimes the jelly begins to slide out immediately. If it remains stuck, use the can opener to crack the vacuum by beginning to take the bottom off the can. I’ve found that you don’t have to remove it all the way, even just a little bit of air in there helps move things along. Gently slide the cranberry sauce out onto your plate.

"canned" homemade cranberry sauce

Serve with pride, knowing that you’ve managed to maintain a family tradition while sticking to your culinary guns. And, should you be curious, this cranberry jelly recipe is also appropriate for funneling into glass jars and processing in a boiling water bath canning. Ten minutes for pints and half pints will more than do.

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109 Responses to Home “Canned” Cranberry Sauce Made in a Tin Can Mold

  1. 51

    […] out this ingenious solution from Food in Jars.  She used empty BPA free cans as molds for homemade cranberry sauce.  Looks just like the […]

  2. 52
    jess s says:

    This is both insane and awesome. I definitely understand the appeal of the can rings, though. I used to measure my portion of the cranberry sauce by the number of rings.

  3. 53
  4. 54

    […] Home Canned Cranberry Sauce – Use this recipe and these instructions to make your homemade cranberry sauce look like the store bought canned stuff. One way to get people to eat homemade. lol You can eat it without going through the canning process. […]

  5. 55
    ruthie says:

    Do you suppose you could do this with dried cranberries when you can’t get fresh? Does drying them affect the pectin, do you think?

    Hope this isn’t a dupe — dropped my connection in mid-post.

  6. 56
    Roze says:

    Just made it! Didn’t have any cans to use, but poured into a jelly jar glass, a pint jar and a half pint jar. We’ll see what happens! What I tasted was AWESOMELY DELICIOUS! I cannot wait to put this on the table tomorrow!!! Thanks Marisa! You never fail me! Have a happy Thanksgiving!!!

  7. 57
    Fawn says:

    Thank you! Made this tonight and it tastes great plus I love the tin can molding idea; you’re so clever ;) Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. 58
    Leah says:

    My brother has made fun of my Thanksgiving food choices for 10 years now. I’ve been a vegetarian all that time, and only last year found a turkey substitute that he thought was worth eating. (Field Roast’s Celebration Roast, in case you were wondering.) He scoffed at the idea of my bothering to make my own cranberry sauce, as we all like the canned stuff. After a taste this evening as I was cleaning up? “Not bad.” High praise indeed. :)

  9. 59
    Angela Watts says:

    Lol, one of the first preserves I foisted on my husband was a homemade cranberry sauce. The whole berry ones didn’t past muster, but he is happy enough to eat a jellied of any shape so long as its just berries and sugar and water/juice.

    Which makes more for me, and I’ve made 4 recipes alone to test out which I like best. Canned for sharing with others.

  10. 60
    threadbndr says:

    I’m listening for my last ‘ping’ for some 1/4 pints of cranberry orange marmaladeish stuff – I noticed that I was a little heavy handed on the sugar and it was setting up this morning after I cooked it, so after I dished up for the table (a cut glass oval dish in our family), I set the rest of the pan aside in the fridge. Just heated everything up again and did five little jars of thanksgiving yumminess as I was setting up the crock pot for turkey stock.

    I’ll have to try the more “jelly” like version next year – I can totally see doing this presentation just to mess with the family.

  11. 61

    Ha! So mine didn’t set (was just barely jiggly so I poured into a pretty glass serving bowl) but it still turned out great because the two ten-year old boys at our table were crazy for it. In fact, after dipping one forkful of turkey after another into it, they called it “turkey blood”! Lots of laughs — and for me, the reminder that a recipe doesn’t have to turn out perfectly to be appreciated. Thanks for the laughs, both for your fish dish and the turkey blood!

  12. 62
    Rosy says:

    This made the best cranberry sauce I’ve ever made, and went straight into the favorite recipes folder! THANK YOU!

  13. 63

    That is simply adorable. How whimsical and wonderful!

  14. 64

    […] also tried to make homemade canned cranberry sauce with the ridges and everything, like G.’s childhood. But we reduced it WAY too much and […]

  15. 65
    rachel says:

    I love that you made it in a can! I did homemade jellied cranberry sauce a few years back but used mini jello molds. Cute but I missed the can ripples.

  16. 66
    Scott says:

    I did this for Thanksgiving. I made mine without apple cider and added in some ginger root… but same idea. Passed it through the food mill. Poured it in a can that used to hold white beans. Brought it to a feast.

    It was AMAZING. Delicious, easy to slice for sandwiches, a conversation starter… Just perfect. Thanks for the idea!

  17. 67

    […] soon as I saw Marisa, from Food in Jars, post about making her own homemade cranberry side with a well-known canned look, I knew I’d be in love with the whole post. I’m happy to […]

  18. 68

    Total genius. And I LOVE the fish plate!

    Sadly, my mom forgot to add sugar to the cranberry sauce this year. That didn’t work out too well.

  19. 69
    Kara says:

    SWEET! I was wondering if I could make my own cranberry sauce instead of buying the kind with the corn syrup! I can’t wait to give this a try. If only I had found it before Thanksgiving!

  20. 70
    Lenea says:

    Silly me! I read the title as, “Home canned cranberry sauce, made in a tin, can mold.” Silly, silly me.

    Looks great though!

  21. 71

    I used a wide mouth mason jar, but this is way more awesome! Thanks!

  22. 72
    MaryAlice Denson says:

    Perfect. My husband would think I had bought it.

  23. 73

    […] cranberry sauce growing up, so I don’t have those great memories (and great plates!) like Marisa. She makes excellent points about all the reasons to skip traditional jellied cranberry sauce […]

  24. 74
    Deetle says:

    As the days get shorter and cooler I’m already perusing recipes for the fall holidays. I hope to make this for Thanksgiving this year. I understand what you mean about “the family cranberry sauce dish”. Ours is shaped like a pear and was one I bought as a mothers day gift at a tag sale when I was about 9 years old. It is truly a treasure to me. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful recipes!

  25. 75

    […] other thing I did was make homemade cranberry jelly and mold it up in BPA-free aluminum cans, so that I could slide it out onto my traditional cranberry dish, can-ridges and all. I still get a […]

  26. 76
    Rachel says:

    This is so cool, I never would have thought of this–but I am sure glad you did! Thanks for sharing!

  27. 77
    Sabrina says:

    I’m making this for Thanksgiving! How much does this recipe yield?

  28. 78
    Ceil Garrison says:

    Thanks. My grown children look for the rings. They don’t want fresh. Made fresh one year and they were in shock. Even tho it was good they wanted the ‘rings’. But I may fool them good this year. Yeah.

  29. 79
    Amy says:

    How many cans does this recipe fill? I don’t see it in the notes.

  30. 80
    Andrea says:

    Mine didn’t seem to set up that well. We canned it, and put it in the fridge, but it still moves when we tilt it. Do you think that is normal? It seems like it should be a little more solid.

  31. 81
    Sabrina says:

    Any suggestions as to what to do with the leftover crushed cranberries?

    • 81.1
      Marisa says:

      I generally discard them. I realize it’s a little bit wasteful, but by the end, they’ve given most their flavor.

    • 81.2
      Kate Payne says:

      Hey Sabrina, I use my post-milled berries (cranberries or other ones I’ve made into butters or purees) in to ferment my own raw, live vinegars! I have tutorials and photos up on my blog.

  32. 82

    […] Want that can-shaped look? Do it yourself: Food in Jars — Tin Can Mold […]

  33. 83
    Pammy says:

    Love this recipe! Can this be canned? If so, 10 minute water bath?

  34. 84

    […] confession. I’ve only ever had jellied cranberry sauce. Out of a can. But I would love to try making my own…in the shape of a can, no […]

  35. 85
    Carol says:

    GREAT idea! I’m doing this for Thanksgiving this year. There’s something about slicing the round that brings back such great memories.

    Question: Instead of using the food mill, could I use my Vitamix and blend everything together? Would it come out the same?

  36. 86
    Handful says:

    One of my friends in a canning group just canned some. I had to check out your post since the link she posted said tin can mold. That part just cracks me up. Congrats on your fish dish. Pinning this.

  37. 87
    Christine says:

    I’m so excited about this! I have made “fresh” cranberry sauce for holidays for several years, and every time I show up with it for the first time, a family member is dismayed by the whole cranberry chunks and the loss of that treasured, can-ridge shape. (Then they taste it and change their minds…!) My dad, in particular, has always loved the smoother cranberry jelly. This year, I can treat him to homemade cranberry jelly with the consistency and shape he loves!

  38. 88

    […] a can of cranberry sauce on our holiday table – Alex shared Food in Jars’ recipe for Home Canned Cranberry Sauce Made in a Tin Can Mold. It keeps that sentimental factor but is healthier. Another take on cranberries is a light and […]

  39. 89

    […] recommend making your own from scratch; a simple cranberry jelly will do.  Marisa McClellan of Food in Jars has a recipe up for this, with the genius addition of allowing it to set in cans, for that […]

  40. 90
    Christine says:

    Oh my… oops.

    I made and processed a batch of this last month, and just looked at the recipe again today. I would swear I used apple cider vinegar instead of apple cider for this! I assume it’s still safe, given the acidity of the vinegar.

    It set up great, and I popped the cap on a jar the other day and used it as a spread on a turkey sandwich, and it was AMAZING. Happy accident?

  41. 91
    SweetCarol says:

    I have seen 3 versions and all sound good. I think would last longer if “canned” in jars but there isn’t enough of this to worry about. Is doubling the recipe same r should juice be reduced a bit?

    I have a hard time standing by the stove and stirring. Wonder if cranberries can be pitted like cherries (I have a little cherry pitter) and then put in vitamix to mix up and then added to the sugar and put in the Ball Jelly Machinne so it would heat and stir it before I can it in jars or in the BPA free cans. Anyone tried that. I liked the idea of orange peel added as well. One recipe called for pectin, but I suppose that is what the cider and lemon are to do, to add the acid to give enough pectin. Any ideas on this?I saw another recipe that had juniper berries and peppercorns but sure would want to screen them out and get only the flavor. Saw some with the orange peel and thyme and rosemary in place of juniper in one. They all sound so good I’m not sure which to try first. The one with wine or madeira had a reduction of 3 oz. I think with 2 batches. My Jam maker only does 4 or 5 jelly jars. at a time.

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