For me, cranberries are inseparably connected to the holiday season. Their warm, red colour definitely helps here! I like them as a compote to accompany meat dishes and they are perfect when baking cookies as well.
The last few years I have been making a kind of Christmas flavoured jam each year. The contents vary: I have added apples or blueberries, I have changed the spices and liquids that are added. One constant factor, however, are the cranberries. They are always the main ingredient. And for sure they are the main character in this year’s Cranberry Christmas Jam!
The recipe at the end of this post will give you seven generous jars of tasty jam. Now don’t worry when you can’t eat all of them over Christmas… this jam tastes just as good in January :)! And… a jar of homemade jam is a perfect little gift as well!
Now let’s talk ingredients first! Apart from the cranberries, the fruity components are apples and clementines. The lovely orange colour of this fruit really brightens up everything. To the jam, they add a bit of tanginess which totally fits the season as well. The apple adds a bit of sweetness.
The wine and spices (cinnamon, cloves and juniper berries) provide a hint of mulled wine or glühwein. What more can you ask for to make a Christmas jam?
And don’t they look very christmassy all together?
It is not so great to chew on a clove when eating your jam… I crush the spices (they will release more of their aroma) and put them in a disposable tea bag.
The jam sugar that I use requires the jam to cook for only one minute. That is too short for the cranberries to soften and release their juices. Therefore, I bring the fruit, liquids and spices to a boil and let it simmer until the cranberries start to pop and the apples are softening.
Then I leave it all to cool down. Once cooled down almost completely, I remove the tea bag with spices and I add the jam sugar. Stir the mixture to combine, put the spices back in (make sure the bag is covered in liquids) and put a lid on. Now leave to infuse for up to two days in a dark and cool place.
Cooking the Jam
When you are ready to cook your jam, make sure that you have sterilised your jars properly. I have explained how I sterilise my jars in this post.
Then, boil the fruit according to the instructions on the package of you jam sugar. Fill your jars almost all the way to the brim. Immediately close with a lid and put the jars upside down for at least five minutes. I usually let them cool all the way like this.
You will find the complete recipe below the photo.
Enjoy! A nice label makes them a perfect gift!
Cranberry Christmas Jam
- Clean and sterilised jars for filling
- 700 g fresh cranberries
- 500 g apples peeled and chopped
- 3 clementines both the zest and the juice
- 500 ml red wine
- 300 ml apple juice without added sugar
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 8 juniper berries
- 8 cloves
- 500 g jam sugar see notes
- Rinse the cranberries and add to a large pan together with the peeled and chopped apples, the clementine zest and juice
- Using a pestle and mortar, crush the spices and put them in a tea bag. Add to the pan
- Add the wine and apple juice and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let simmer until the cranberries start to open up and release their juices
- Leave to cool. Once cooled down, add the jam sugar, put a lid on and store in a cool place for 24-48 hours
- Prepare your jars and lids by cleaning and sterilising them
- Cook your jam according to the instructions on the package and carefully fill your jars. Close them immediately and put them upside down for at least five minutes
- Basically, jam sugar is regular sugar with added pectin. It's the pectin that thickens the jam. Pectin is naturally present in most fruits (especially apples). When making jam, I like to use jam sugar that is less sweet. Regular jam sugar uses a ratio of 1:1 meaning that the amounts of fruit and sugar are equal. The sugar that I like to use requires a 2:1 ratio: the amount of fruit you use is twice the amount of sugar that you use. Cooking times vary as well. Therefore check the instructions on your jam sugar before you start!
- By nature, both cranberries and apples have a large amount of pectin. Therefore, I have added extra liquids (wine and apple juice) to make sure that the jam won't be too thick.
- If you prefer your jam to be a little more smooth than use a stick blender to mix the fruits. Make sure you take out the tea bag with spices before!
- When using sterilised jars, you can keep your jam for about six months in a dry and cool place.