Christmas Jam -- a combination of strawberries, cranberries, orange zest and cinnamon -- is a perfect gift to share with friends during the holiday season, a delicious topping for biscuits or toast, and a bright addition to a charcuterie board!
Servings 10 (8 ounce) jars approximately
- 40 ounces frozen unsweetened strawberries, thawed or partially thawed (or sub with 2-½ quarts fresh strawberries, hulled)
- 1 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries, thawed or partially thawed
- Zest from 2 oranges (about 2 tablespoons)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- 4 lbs. granulated sugar
- 2 pouches (3 ounces each) liquid fruit pectin
Coarsely chop the strawberries and cranberries in a food processor or grinder (do not puree). It’s fine if you still have some larger chunks of fruit – you can mash them with a potato masher or a wooden spoon while they’re cooking. You don’t want the fruit totally pureed, because this is jam (not syrup or jelly!) – and it should have some chunky pieces of fruit throughout.
Transfer the fruit to a large Dutch oven. Add orange zest, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and sugar.
Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Once the mixture comes to a full rolling boil, continue the boil for exactly 1 minute.
Remove from the heat; stir in pectin and return to a full rolling boil. Once the mixture returns to a full rolling boil, set a timer and boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat.
Cool for 5 minutes; skim off the foam. At this point, the mixture will still be quite thin – it will not look like a thick jam. That’s fine! It will thicken and set as it cools.
Carefully ladle the hot mixture into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving ¼-inch of headspace. Wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth; secure the lids. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the jars to a towel on the counter. Let stand, undisturbed, for 12 hours at room temperature. Check the seals after 12 hours by pressing the center of the lids. If the lid gives or the center button remains popped up, store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Properly sealed jars will keep in a cool, dark place for up to 8 months. Refrigerate after opening.
- Weigh the berries, or use package weight measurements. In canning, the ratio of sugar to acid is important to create a safe product that properly sets. To account for differences in produce size, I always recommend weighing your strawberries and cranberries to make sure that you have the proper amount.
- Thaw the frozen fruit in the fridge overnight, or use partially-thawed fruit. I find that the partially-thawed fruit is perfectly fine for chopping in a high-power processor without as much juicy mess.
- Do not purée the fruit in the food processor. Just pulse the berries to chop them into smaller pieces. If you have some larger chunks left, you can always mash them in the pot with a potato masher.
- The zest is the outer layer of the orange peel, which holds all of the flavorful essential oils. Be careful not to grate off any of the white pith underneath, which has a bitter taste.
- It's important to boil the fruit mixture with the pectin for exactly 1 minute. If you overcook the pectin, it may break down and fail to gel.
- Leave ¼-inch of headspace in each jar. The proper amount of headspace is important to ensure a vacuum seal. If there's too little headspace, the jam may expand and bubble out when air is being forced out from under the lid during processing.
Serving: 1tablespoon | Calories: 47kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 14mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 3IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 1mg