Monday, November 3, 2014

Cranberry Salsa--put it up or give it away

Cranberry Salsa--put it up or give it away

Sweet and spicy, this gluten free condiment is terrific on a leftover turkey sandwich or in a host of recipes--many of which will appear on this blog.

I have a confession and an apology. Apology first. When I shared the Cranberry Chicken Swiss Chard Leek Enchiladas I was unaware that one of the ingredients I used, cranberry salsa, was not available this year. I'm sorry.

Now for the confession--I often work ahead, posting recipes made up to a year in advance. See, I'm slow as the molasses in my cold kitchen in the wintertime. If I were to get recipes written, photographed and typed and published in order I'd be sharing tomato recipes in November, pumpkin recipes in January, and butternut squash recipes in April. Nobody wants that--not even the folks Down Under?! Instead of missing the seasons by a mile, I opt to save posts until they are seasonally ripe. I've got some flexibility that way, so I can toss in a Beef and Venison Sloppy Joe recipe or a Slow Cooker Apple Chai for a crowd when the spirit moves me [and I'm asked].

Most of the time this method--of working ahead and taking my time, works fine. Sometimes I screw up. Royally. In this case I tried to find the same brand of cranberry salsa in the store and even contacted Ocean Spray as I was publishing the post, only to learn that they weren't making cranberry salsa this year. Instead of just saying 'oh well, you're on your own', I grabbed a bag of cranberries from my freezer stash and some hot peppers from my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share and made a batch. If you've ever made cranberry sauce from the bag of berries, you can make cranberry salsa. It's just boiling and stirring, after all. If your cranberry sauce involves opening a can from both ends, let's talk and explore your options.

I canned this cranberry salsa. In fact I've canned so many things that my shelf support broke! Luckily the shelf fell onto the jars of salsa verde and strawberry salsa, so nothing slid to the floor. Although I did get 7 jars to fill up my canner, I did have a wee bit left over and it has been in my fridge for 2 weeks and tastes delicious. I'll bet it's good for at least 2-3 weeks in the fridge, and that's plenty long for Thanksgiving turkey sandwich leftovers. That means you don't have to process this before using.
Salad greens from the farm share and kohlrabi pickles make this sandwich amazing.

If you have a Thanksgiving gift-giving urge you could whip up a batch of this and ladle into half pint jars (you'll have 10) then cover with these reusable refrigerator/freezer storage lids (Amazon affiliate link) and refrigerate. Encourage the lucky recipient to spread this on a Thanksgiving turkey leftover sandwich (may I suggest Multigrain Cereal Buns or the Multigrain Sourdough Bread?).

For more cranberry recipes, please see my Cranberry Recipe Collection. For more salsa recipes, I've got Cantina Style Strawberry Salsa and Harvest Sweet Potato Salsa.

This recipe is adapted from the National Center for Home Food Preservation's one. That recipe calls for red onion and serrano peppers and I had neither, so I used what hot peppers I had from our farm share and my garden--mostly jalapeños with a couple of spicier ones thrown in. This made about 80 ounces. Because it's late in the canning season for me, I cobbled together an assortment of 8 to 16 ounce jars. I used the same processing time for all of the jars, but if you're not a canner it will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.
I very carefully set out all the ingredients for the photo, including artfully scattered cranberries, then grabbed the onions and peppers and the food processor and started chopping. Only when I reached for the vinegar to pour into the pot did I realize I'd forgotten to actually take a photo of the assembled ingredients. Oops.

NOTE:  I created this recipe to be gluten free through my choice of ingredients. Check labels to confirm that your products are also gluten free. Good sources for determining that your products are gluten free can be found here:

Cranberry Salsa

4 cups chopped onion (I used the food processor for this)
⅔ cup chopped hot pepper (ditto--don't forget to wear gloves)
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt (I used my Ball® Pickling Salt (Amazon affiliate link)
1 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons honey
8 cups whole cranberries (can be thawed from frozen)

If you're going to put this up, wash enough jars for about 5 pints (plus an extra just in case) and place them on a rack in a large heavy pot. Fill with water up to the level of the jars. Cover, and heat to boiling while you're working on the salsa. [In the photo above, that tall orange pasta pot is playing the role of my canning pot.] In another large pot, combine all the ingredients over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes--most of the cranberries will burst and the mixture will thicken. Remove jars from the canning pot and ladle hot salsa into the hot jars. Wipe the jar rims with a wet paper towel and add a lid and a ring [I still soak my lids in hot water--scooped out of the canning pot while the salsa is boiling--for a few minutes to soften the sealing compound]. Tighten the rings "fingertip tight" which means to me don't really crank on it, but make sure you've made an effort to secure the ring to the jar. Place filled jars in canning pot, cover, and return water to a boil. Once the water has resumed boiling set the timer for 20 minutes. When the timer rings, turn off the heat. Let the boiling stop before removing the jars to a towel-covered counter top and listening for the lovely Ping! that signifies the seal. Leave the jars undisturbed overnight, then remove the rings--and write on the lid so you know what you've got in there!  If you're planning to refrigerate this--ladle the salsa into jars, wipe the rims, screw on the lids, let it cool a bit then store in the refrigerator.
Reality check--I can't cook and can in the same day. This was my canning fuel and the kids' after school snack.
This post is shared with Tasty TuesdaysSimple Supper TuesdayMotivation MondayClever Chicks Blog Hop
Cranberry Salsa on Punk Domestics


  1. Thank you for posting on Motivation Monday!

  2. I loved the reality check at the end.

    1. Meghan,
      I'm still looking for peach kombucha beer as that was even better canning fuel.