Thursday, December 13, 2012

Low Carb Cranberry Juice

Brought to you by the letter "J".

Low carb Cranberry Juice
You might be justifiably confused by the low carb cranberry juice title. Cuz comeon! Isn’t low carb fruit juice a bit of an oxymoron? Isn’t juice fruit verboten in a low carb lifestyle? Isn’t fruit evil? Doesn’t it have deadly fructose?

Understand me now…low carb living is not black or white. It isn’t all or nothing. There IS fruit in a low carb paradigm.

It’s low carb, not no carb, and when you don’t mechanically alter the fructose, and choose fruits lower in sugar content, your body can handle it on a limited basis. (Less than 15g of naturally occurring fructose a day shouldn’t be a problem to most people – but hey, I’m not a doc or nutritionist so check with your's ok? Don’t take the word of some faceless schmoe on the internet. Swearsies?)

Low Carb Cranberry Juice great in low carb holiday cocktails
Low carb cranberry juice adds juice back to your low carb life. I didn’t grow up drinking tons of juice. We used to drink juice from “juice glasses”. I don’t know if you recall these size glasses, but they were also called “jelly jars”. They ACTUALLY were the jars Mama saved that came from the grocery store packed with pimiento cheese or a rare treat for her, shrimp cocktail. I think they probably held 4 or 6oz of juice. In those days, that was a standard serving – not the 20oz cups of juice we see today!

Low Carb Seabreeze can be virgin or
imbibed with vodka
Additionally, I always thought juice tasted too sweet. I much preferred to eat a piece of fruit. I was a weird kid! Because of my peculiarity, eating a low carb diet didn’t place any undue stress on me from a juice perspective. But, I was pleased nonetheless to learn about making low carb cranberry juice from a sweet friend at LCF, a low carb support forum filled with amazing home cooks and chefs, even cookbook authors and food writers.

This low carb cranberry juice came in very handy after chemo treatment while I was waiting for surgery. The chemo had done a number on my bladder and I had a couple of bouts with bleeding and irritation. I think the cranberry juice helped that without adding a bunch of sugar to my low carb diet and feeding the cancer sugar.

I warn you now. It bears little resemblance to the junk you buy at the grocery. It doesn’t have that overwhelmingly, cloyingly sweet flavor. It’s not as thick either. It's tart and crisp, just a tiny bit thicker than water. You could probably make a delicious chia fresca with it! I actually love low carb cranberry juice unsweetened. But Denny and the boys prefer it with a drop or two of liquid Stevia or EZSweetz.

A Low Carb Cosmo for the cook? Why not.
It's the holidays!
Low Carb Cranberry Juice makes a delicious base for festive Holiday Drinks. We have a good article I wrote over at CarbSmart Magazine, filled with low carb cocktails. A few of the low carb cocktails use the low carb cranberry juice.

Just FYI, I’m making the next posts brief. Fluffy Chix Cook isn't doing a lot of cooking right now. I’m wrapped up with lymphedema bandages and typing one handed these days, until the treatment period is over. That will be from another week to as much as 2 or 3 more weeks. It depends on how quickly we can reduce the swelling. I’m making good progress though and yesterday’s measurements showed a 50% reduction in fluid in my left arm. The therapists were very pleased!

Low Carb Cranberry Juice

Low Carb Cranberry Juice
Full Recipe: $1.99
Per serving: $.04 per ounce

Serves: 48  
Serving Size: 1 ounce 
Yield: 48 ounces

Preparation Time: 3 Minutes
Primary Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
Steeping Time: 15 Minutes
Start to Finish Time: 48 Minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Light and tart. A refreshing alternative to overly sweetened and artificially sweetened cranberry juice.

  • 12 ounces cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 ½ quarts filtered water

Wash cranberries by filling a large bowl with cold water. Float berries in the water.

Drain and replace water a couple of times.

Pick out any soft or bruised berries.

Fill saucepan with 6 cups of fresh, filtered water. Add cranberries. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer.

Simmer until berries burst and release cranberry flavor and color into water.

Remove from heat and cover. Allow to steep in water up to 30 minutes.

Pour juice through a mesh strainer. Press berries with the back of a spoon and scrape the pulp collected on the underside of the strainer into the juice. stir or cover and shake juice to combine liquid and pressed pulp. Retain the cranberry juice. Glass Mason jars and old whiskey bottles make fun storage bottles and save space in the fridge.

Low Carb Virgin Sharks Fin looks
like cocktail but is virtuous!
If desired, use juice unsweetened, or you may sweeten to your discretion using the sweetener of your choice. (I've come to love it unsweetened with a twist of lime and unflavored La Croix sparkling water! Very tart and refreshing! I leave the main batch unsweetened so I can sweeten each person's glass to order.)

You can repurpose the burst cranberries after cooking by using the strained solids for relish and chutney or by adding a bit of flavored sugar free syrup. Let them marinate overnight. Dehydrate per your dehydrator instructions, using the fruit leather sheet, and enjoy sugar free dried cranberry leather in appetizers and salads.

Per Serving: 3 Calories; trace Fat (3.3% calories from fat); trace Protein; .89g Carbohydrate; .3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 1mg Sodium; .59g Net Carbs

Serving Ideas: Mix 4 oz with sparkling water or unsweetened seltzer such as La Croix. Serve with a wedge of a lime, lots of ice, and a drop or two of liquid sugar free sweetener.


I've come to enjoy this freshly made cranberry juice without any sweetener, as a bright acidic addition to sparkling water such as unflavored La Croix sparkling water. But it's also great in the lime flavored and orange flavored La Croix waters! And it's about as easy as making iced tea.

Low Carb Virgin Shark's Fin
Serve it with a squeeze of lemon or lime and look out!

If you want to make it sweet, add a drop or two of your favorite liquid sugar substitute such as liquid Stevia drops.

This juice will keep for a week refrigerated and freezes great!

I don't generally worry too much about the carbs, since I'm not eating the fruit. I figure it's actually about 1 carb per 4oz serving, since you aren't eating the main portions of the cranberries. Very livable.

Reserve the solids, sweeten with sugar substitute such as blackberry or cranberry sugar free syrup and dehydrate on the fruit leather sheet for very credible sugar free cranberries.

This nutritious low carb cranberry juice adds juice back to your life without a lot of excess carbs and cranberries are great for your kidneys, too.

Brought to you by the letter "J".


  1. I agree with you. I love fixing cranberry syrup. I do use sweetner when I boil it down and later add it to seltzer with a touch of ginger syrup that I make. I love the ginger syrup and use it to make my own ginger ale and sometimes add a couple of ounces of beer. Perfect cooler in the summer. Love your blog.

    1. Isn't it easy Carol? Love the idea of doing ginger syrup. During chemo, I would just steep ginger for ginger tea. So soothing. Care to share your ginger syrup and ginger spritzer recipe with us?

  2. Sure, there are several on the internet but my favorite is:
    Candied Ginger and Syrup

    Prep Time: 15 mins Total Time: 1 hrs Yield: 1.5 cups

    1 cup fresh ginger
    3 cups water
    3 cups sugar

    Peel ginger and slice into rounds about 1/8 inch thick. Mix sugar and water in a large sauce pan and bring to boil.
    When sugar is disolved, add ginger and boil for 45 minutes. Ginger should be sweet and tender. Drain ginger and reserve liquid.
    Place ginger on rack to dry for 30 minutes. Toss with sugar to coat. Let dry on wax paper. Store in airtight container.
    For the spritzer: Fill glass with ice and seltzer,add ginger syrup to taste and you can add 2 oz.low carb beer or cranberry juice...Carolyn

    1. Thanks Carol, so for making it sugar free, you would use 3c of sugar equivalent from your favorite sugar free source. I would tend to undersweeten. And to make a syrup, typically you would dissolve sugar in water and cook to a particular "crack" stage. With AF that's not as simple since erythritol is used now for much of the bulking agent and it tends to recrystallize with cooling...sooooo

      What I would do? I would simply make my "ginger tea" using the 1c fresh ginger and water and sweeten to taste with concentrated stevia drops and save the carbs. If you want it thick like syrup, you can thicken with gelatin, gums, glucomannan or chia seeds.

      The spritzer is getting made tonight!!!!
      Rhanks Carolyn!

    2. Dah I mean Carol! Stupid fingers and arm!

  3. I don't use sugar, I should correct recipe to mean sweetner of choice. I use a natural sweetner. I have been off sugar for over 15 years. Too many diabetics in my family tree.

  4. This looks so good for Christmas time. Thank you! Praying for your speedy recovery. xo

  5. Another cranberry lover here! I've got a big container of homemade sugar-free cranberry sauce in the fridge now, that I've been eating on for the past couple of weeks. I make it a little more on the tart-sweet side and love to just eat spoonfuls of it! It works out to about .7 net carb per T so that's a lovely treat!

    I hadn't thought about making juice from my lovely cranberries in the freezer, but I will be doing this! Thank you for the idea and the directions, Susie!

    Good news about the swelling going down so much since the day before. I sure hope that continues so you can get past this. You're in my thoughts and prayers.


  6. Great information about cranberry juice.


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