Bacon Cranberry Jelly

I tested out some new cranberry jelly recipes last week in preparation for Thanksgiving. In past years I have made basic cranberry chutneys and sauces that do not require the extra step of straining the cooked fruit, but this year I decided to go ahead and make an actual cranberry jelly.  I made a more traditional jelly with a dash of cinnamon and some ginger root, but I also experimented with making a bacon cranberry jelly.  The smokiness of the bacon turned out to be a delightful complement to the sweetness of the sugar and the tartness of the cranberries.  I could not wait until Thursday to test it out, and ended up spreading some of the jelly onto a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. Yum…  In most sandwich shops in Vermont you can order a Vermonter sandwich which traditionally consists of Vermont extra-sharp cheddar cheese, turkey, and bacon.  I’m already thinking of building Vermonters out of turkey leftovers and bacon cranberry jelly…

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups fresh Cranberries
  • 4 cups Water
  • 1/2 lb cooked and diced Bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups Sugar

Directions:

  1. Place your cranberries and water into a pot, and bring them to a boil.
  2. Allow your cranberries to cook for about half an hour.  By the time you are done cooking them, they should be mushy and the liquid content should have been reduced by about half.
  3. Pour your cranberries through a mesh strainer while using a spoon to aid in getting the pureed portions through.  You want to remove the seeds and skins, but allow most of the fruit to get through.
  4. Returned your strained cranberries to the pot, add the sugar, and bring things to a boil.
  5. Cook the jelly for 15-20 minutes until it reaches the jellying stage.  You may want to use a candy thermometer to insure that it gets there.
  6. Stir in the bacon.
  7. Transfer into jar, and seal with a lid.
  8. Allow your jelly to cool for a few hours before storing it in the refrigerator for up to a couple of weeks.
  9. It should take the jelly about 24 hours to fully set up.

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