When you learn how to make cranberry juice, you get 100% undiluted cranberry and can make it as sweet as you like. And you can use whichever sweetener you prefer.
Health Benefits Of Cranberries
When you think of the health benefits of cranberries, you probably think about fighting UTIs. But cranberries are full of a number of healthy properties.
They are high in Vitamin C, which is great for the immune system and helps your body repair tissue. They are also high in antioxidants and are have anti-inflammatory properties.
How to Make Cranberry Juice Naturally Sweetened
Cranberries are naturally quite tart. Have you ever eaten one straight up? I think they’re fun and tart, but most people aren’t a huge fan of the pucker they induce.
Store bought cranberry juices typically have lots of added sugars to sweeten the cranberries. Even if they don’t have added sugar, they often blend the cranberry juice with apple or white grape to lighten the tartness.
When you know how to make cranberry juice, you get 100% cranberry goodness, and you can add as much sweetener as you like. Even better, you can use any sweetener you prefer.
I like the lightly floral sweetness of honey in my cranberry juice. Further, raw honey adds lots of other medicinal properties as well to the homemade cranberry juice.
One thing to remember when using honey is that many of the beneficial properties of honey are destroyed at high temperatures, so it is important to add the honey after the cranberry juice mixture has cooled to under 95°F. That way it still dissolves and mixes nicely into the warm juice, but you still get all the benefits.
How to Make Cranberry Juice
Learning how to make cranberry juice is so easy!
First, cranberries are simmered with a little water to soften them and pull out the juices.
Once the berries have softened, they can be blended with an immersion blender or a standard blender. (If using a standard blender, be sure to let your cranberry mixture cool slightly. Blending hot liquids in your blender with a tight lid can create pressure that could blow the lid off, creating a hot, dangerous, mess.)
If you like a pulp-free juice, after blending you can strain the juice through a fine mesh sieve. This will catch most of the solid berry bits, leaving you with a nice, pulp-free juice concentrate.
Now it’s time to sweeten your juice concentrate. I like my cranberry juice tart, so I use ¼ cup of honey for the recipe below. Depending on your sweetener of choice and your sweetness preference, you can increase that amount as needed.
After sweetening your concentrate, it’s time to add more water to thin out your juice. Adding 4 cups of water will give you a nice and bold, cranberry flavor.
After thinning out your juice, it’s time to taste it. You can add more sweetener or water to adjust the sweetness or thickness and get your juice just how you like it.
Storing And Using Homemade Cranberry Juice
This juice can be kept in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
I don’t drink all of this juice in 2 weeks, so I like to freeze half of it for later.
You can also freeze the cranberry juice concentrate in an ice cube tray, for single-serve cranberry juice drinks. Simply pop a cube or two out of the freezer into your glass and add water to your desired consistency.
This cranberry juice is great on its own, but it is also wonderful used in smoothies, cocktails, or blended with other juices.
Homemade Cranberry Juice Recipe
Yield 1.5 quarts
- 12 oz whole cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 5 cups water, divided
- ¼ – ½ cup honey (or other sweetener of choice), more as desired
- Place whole cranberries and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and blend the berries using an immersion blender. (Or, let the mixture cool slightly and transfer it to your blender.) Blend until smooth.
- If desired, strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve to remove any remaining berry bits.
- Let the mixture cool slightly (to under 95°F) before mixing in the honey.
- Add the remaining 4 cups of water.
- Taste your juice and add more sweetener or water, as desired.
- Store the juice in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.