I grew up with cranberry jelly from the can at Thanksgiving; but given its high-fructose corn syrup and gelatin (made from animal skin and bones), a healthier version is in order. This recipe is very easy to make and calls for only five ingredients!
Gelatin, the primary ingredient in traditional cranberry jellies (along with high-fructose corn syrup) is made from collagen that has been extracted from the skin, bones, and connective tissues of animals such as domesticated cattle, chicken, pigs, and fish. As a vegan, that sounds really unappetizing; even if I wasn't vegan, I don't think I would like eating that now that I know!
Other thickeners, like corn starch, arrowroot, and flour won't firm up a cranberry jelly as well as agar agar, which is vegan and derived from seaweed (but it doesn't smell or taste like seaweed).
Agar (or "agar agar") can be found as powder or threads; the threads take a little longer to dissolve in Step 2. I bought my agar agar powder online, but you can also find it in health-food grocery stores, or Asian markets. It's most often used in desserts, so check the baking isle.Print
Most recipes for homemade cranberry jelly instruct you to strain the mixture after blending (in Step 2), but I like keeping the whole (blended) cranberries and their fiber in the final jelly. It's a bit more matte looking and "rustic," which I kind of like.
If you'd like to add some flair to your jelly, feel free to add raisins, nuts or small-diced fruit (apples, pears, persimmons) after blending the jelly. If you're looking for more texture, try my chunky Cranberry Sauce recipe, or my Raw Cranberry-Persimmon Relish recipe.