The special gifts I made this year for my friends is festive cranberry sauce.
It is pretty, it is hard to stay out of, and it is easy to make.
My recipe calls for 8 cups of cranberries. I buy the bags of fresh ones when they are on sale and freeze them if there isn't time to put them up when I buy them.
So, you can use fresh or freshly frozen berries.
It is important to go through the bags of berries to discard the overripe/underripe ones.
By the time you have done this you have about 2 cups. It takes 4 bags for this recipe.
While I sort through the berries I bring 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar to a boil on a meduim high setting. Boil for about 5 minutes.
I use evaporated cane juice crystals because they are a kind of sugar that has not been bleached or processed to the point of losing the molasses.
When the water/sugar concoction has boiled for 5 minutes, add the 8 cups of fresh cranberries. Do not stir. You can see that I made the mistake of stirring and have foam to deal with. I don't mind it a bit, but you don't want to give foam away as a gift! The berries boil on meduim high until most of them have split their skins. You can hear the 'popping' as they do this while you putter around the kitchen with this activity. It takes about 10 minutes for this part.
You can see beside the cranberries a small saucepan with 7 lids and screw caps. I've washed them and am boiling them for about 5 minutes in about 3 inches of water. In the oven are 7 clean jars in a pan with about an inch of water at 220 degrees for 20 minutes.
When the berries are ready, fill the jars, wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth, place lids and screw caps on, and process for 10 minutes.
I use a steamer canner rather than a boiling water bath because it take much less time. I've used this steamer canner since we lived in Misery (Missouri, to some) in the 80's, so I know it is a time-saving way to process many foods.
My DH loves this stuff, putting it on pound cake for dessert if we haven't had chicken for dinner. He would eat it right out of the jar if I'd let him!