High Bush Cranberry Jelly and my little red shoes

by Michelle

I think that I should take a personality test to understand why I am so drawn to anything red. I have been all of my life.

When I was a little girl, my mom took the summer to put together my new school clothes for the upcoming school year. On one of our shopping expeditions, during the summer that I turned nine, I spotted a pair of beautiful, shiny red patent leather shoes with a gold buckle. I was smitten.

I can only imagine how garish those little red shoes with the gold buckle and jaunty black heel would have seemed to my mom. However, I remember her gushing over them with me when I brought them home to show my dad.

Every day for the rest of the summer, I would carefully take my precious shoes out of their tissue stuffed box and try them on. I could not wait for the first day of school.

Finally the first day of school had arrived. I was up like a shot. Bed made, washed, breakfast finished, teeth brushed, hair in ponytail, clothes neatly tucked in and CATASTROPHE! Somehow, in the night, my feet had grown. My new shoes no longer fit. I squished my feet into them and painfully walked out into the livingroom. I knew that Mom and Dad would be expecting me to be dancing with joy because I could finally wear my little red treasures. I could not disappoint them. For two days, I managed to keep the disaster a secret.

Without me knowing, Dad had watched me walk towards the school bus stop. He still teases me, to this day, about the funny way that I was trying to walk.

By the time that I got home from school, there was a new pair of sensible, brown Mary Jane’s –  just my size.

We have three high bush cranberry shrubs at the farm. The shrubs are very old, completely over grown and dripping with clumps of the most beautiful red berries.

I could not resist!

High Bush Cranberry Jelly

makes 8 – 250ml jars

4 quarts high bush cranberries, picked from stems

Place berries in a deep pot and add enough cold water to just cover the fruit.

Bring mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Remove pot from heat and crush berries with a masher.

Line a large ceramic bowl with dampened cheesecloth. Make sure that you use enough cheesecloth to allow you to tie it into a sack.

Pour berries and water into cheesecloth lined bowl and carefully tie up the ends. I hang my berries on an upper cupboard door handle and allow the fruit to drip into the bowl over night.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions to prepare your bottles

5 cups of berry juice – you can add up to 1/2 cup of water if you are short.

7 cups white sugar

Bring mixture to a boil over high heat – Stir constantly to prevent scorching.

Remove from heat and add 1 packet of liquid Certo – stir well

Bring back to the boil and boil hard for 1 minute.

Remove from heat and add 1/2 teaspoon butter – stir well

Skim all of the foam from the surface.

Pour into sterilized jars.

High bush cranberries smell like stinky socks while cooking – not to worry – the finished product is delicious!

Thanks for reading.