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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Semi-Homemade Cranberry-Apple Juice

A while back, I mentioned in the comments that I would be trying out an idea to use some of my frozen cranberries combined with commercial apple juice concentrate to make a no-sugar added cran-apple juice. This week, I tried it out and made a 64-oz pitcher.

Here's what I used:

2 cups of frozen, whole cranberries
3 cups of water
1 12-oz can of frozen apple juice concentrate
additional water to fill the pitcher

So this is what I did:

I ground up the frozen, whole cranberries in the food processor (not super fine, just what you might do if you were to make cranberry bread). Next, I simmered the ground cranberries with about 3 cups of water in a stainless saucepan for about 30 minutes.

After cooling for a bit, I poured the cranberry slurry through a sieve placed over a wide-mouth, 64-oz pitcher and strained until no more liquid would drip through. I pressed it gently, but wanted to keep most of the sediment out of the juice. Next, I added the can of apple juice concentrate and enough water to fill to about the 1 and 3/4 quart-line on the pitcher. Stirred and chilled -- that's it. It took about 5-10 minutes of hands-on time while doing other tasks in the kitchen.

The verdict? It's not as cranberry-ish as commercial drinks -- more like a cranberry-infused apple juice. My family has really enjoyed this and I'll be making it again later this month. It adds variety to our beverages, gets us to use some of the frozen cranberries from last fall, and diversifies the nutrients that we consume in juice form.

I saved the leftover cranberry mush in the freezer to add to applesauce the next time I buy or make some.

Obviously, we could have simply drunk the apple juice made up plain. However, on such a tight grocery budget which limited the variety of ingredients that I could buy, it's been important for me to keep trying new ways to prepare the same ingredients, as well as tap into some of the items that we hand on hand from before the last couple of months. Variety really does stave off feelings of deprivation. Anyway, just thought that I'd share how it went.


  1. I used to absolutely HATE cranberry juice, but now I actually really like it! I bet that the apple makes the cranberry not as bitter, so I am sure I would like them. I might just have to give it a try!
    -Jenna ♥
    Stay in touch? The Chic Cupcake

    1. Hi Jenna,
      I think that astringent and bitter bite of cranberries puts a lot of people off. This version is much more apple-y. What really made me happy was finding out that it's possible to make a cranberry infusion at home. If you try it, come back and let me know what you think of it.

  2. Cranberry juice is my favorite. This sounds delicious! I made cranberry sauce last night. I have a recipe where you make turkey meatballs, put them over pasta, and put cranberry sauce on top. Sort of a riff on a Thanksgiving meal. Glad you found a good use for your cranberries!

    1. Hi Kris,
      Oh, that sounds yummy. was your cranberry sauce just a standard sweetened cranberry one, or did you make it more savory? It sounds delicious. I'll keep this in mind, so thank you!

    2. The standard sweetened one with about 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard added. It adds a slight variation to the flavor.

    3. That sounds delicious. I love the idea of adding a bit of mustard to the cranberry sauce. Have you ever made cranberry mustard? After the holidays, I will mix in a bit of leftover cranberry sauce to a small dish of mustard. This is a nice condiment for turkey or ham sandwiches.

  3. I might like your cranberry infused apple juice. Cranberries generally have an aftertaste that I don't like, but this could be just the right amount. We don't have any cranberries in the freezer, so I won't trying this until next fall when they go on sale. If I remember...

    1. Hi live and learn,
      You've also mentioned that you're not a coffee drinker, either. I think some people are attracted to bitter tastes, like in cranberries and coffee, while others are put off by the bitterness. I know the aftertaste that your talking about. It can have something of a bite. Lucky for you, you don't have a bunch of cranberries to use up before next fall!

  4. My dad likes to blend them into smoothies! He buys them bulk (I think from Costco) when they're in season and tries to eat them for the health benefits. He just blends them raw with a lot of water and sweetens with honey. That's it!

    1. Hi Allie,
      Oh, I'd never thought to add cranberries to smoothies, but that could be delicious. I'll have to try one, maybe cranberries and orange juice, plus honey. Thank you for this idea!

  5. Cranberries are so good and healthy for you. I have a two pound bag in my freezer right now. I love that I have it as they are hard to find at this time of year.

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Now that I think about it, I don't recall seeing fresh cranberries outside of fall and winter months at all, anywhere. Good thinking to buy some for the freezer!

  6. right back atchya, flowergirl. :)


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