Spiced Cranberry Jam

jar of cranberry jam

Most of the time, I do my preserving in relatively small batches. However, as we begin to approach the gift giving time of year, I take inventory of what I have in the pantry and then make a few very large batches to round out the selection (Scott likes to give his co-workers some of my jams and pickles, and I typically put together gift bags for neighbors and family members).

bag of cranberries

One fruit I rely on heavily for these larger, holiday-themed batches is the mighty cranberry. It has great flavor, contains a goodly amount of pectin (which means there’s never any doubt that it will set up), and goes beautifully with all manner of wintertime fare.

cranberries in a pot

This is not my first go-round with cranberry jam (I shared a basic batch the first year this site was around and did a tin can molded version back in 2011), but I like this one because it has plenty of flavor and retains its essential tartness. Of course, if you want to temper the boldness of the cranberry, you can try pear cranberry jam, cranberry marmalade, apple cranberry jam, or cranberry quince sauce.

cooked cranberry jam

When making this jam for gift giving, I cook it until the berries are mostly popped and will sometimes use a potato masher to help break it down a bit more. If you prefer a smoother spread, you could either introduce an immersion blender or push the jam through a food mill for something that it mostly skin and seed-free.

filling jars with cranberry jam

Because cranberries are quite high in acid, this is a recipe you play around with a little without causing unsafe conditions. Swap out the spices and drop in a vanilla bean instead. Use more orange zest and juice for a citrusy punch. Go wild and add a little cayenne or ancho chili powder to provide some heat. Unless you start adding handfuls of garlic and onion, you’d be hard pressed to make an unsafe cranberry jam.

cranberry jam from above

Oh, and one more note about cranberries. If you like sweet and tangy things and you haven’t tried my pickled cranberries yet, consider making up a batch while they’re in stores this season.

Now your turn. What cranberry jams, sauces, and jellies are you making this time of year?

Spiced Cranberry Jam

Yield: 5 pints

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds fresh cranberries (about 12-14 cups)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups apple cider
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Instructions

  1. Prepare a boiling water bath and necessary jars. Place lids in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.
  2. Combine the cranberries, sugar, cider, and orange and lemon juice and zest in a large pot (use a big one, this jam will bubble) over high heat.
  3. Bring to a boil, skimming off the foam that develops on the top of the fruit. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the cranberries pop.
  4. Add the ginger, cinnamon, and cloves and stir to combine.
  5. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the jam looks quite thick. If it appears to be thickening too much before all the cranberries are popped, add a splash of water to loosen.
  6. Ladle jam into jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.
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72 Responses to Spiced Cranberry Jam

  1. 51
    Megan says:

    Thank you again for this great recipe – it was lovely to give out around Thanksgiving! I just opened a jar today, though, and I noticed a few bubbles (not moving) at the top – and black scum on the underside of the lid. I threw out the whole jar to be safe, but I was curious if you knew what the cause of that was, and what I could try in the future to avoid it. (This recipe was so delicious, I really miss that last jar!)

    • 51.1
      Marisa says:

      Megan, sometimes you get some black scum forming on the bottom of lids as the acid from the product reacts with a scratch that exposes the metal of the lid. It’s not dangerous, just ugly. And bubbles aren’t a risk if they’re not actively moving. If there are just a few air pockets in a product, they do no harm. I think this jam was probably safe to eat. :(

      • Megan says:

        Thanks for the quick response! I guess one actually can be too careful :) but good to know for next time, and I’m relieved that those other jars I gave out as gifts have nothing to worry about!

  2. 52
    Miriam says:

    I know this is an older recipe, but I just had to say how delicious it is! I had an extra bag of cranberries left from making your apple-cranberry and pear-cranberry jams (this is what happens when I send my boyfriend to get ingredients!) and wanted to make something with them. I based the proportions on your 2009 cranberry jelly recipe, but was still slightly short of one lb. of fruit, so I peeled and pithed two oranges we had in the fridge after zesting them to bulk it up. I also switched to brown sugar and used a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. I ended up with two half pints and one 4 oz. jar, which are in a waterbath right now. Love the recipe. Thanks!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Food News Friday, November 22 - Food News Journal : Food News Journal - November 22, 2013

    […] no.9 – Using Yeast – Poires au Chocolat Spiced Cranberry Jam – Food in Jars Thanksgiving Tofu Pasta Nests Recipe – Steamy Kitchen Nancy’s Vodka Cranberries […]

  2. Holiday Wishes - Alisa The Yarnista - December 25, 2013

    […] I also love the Food In Jars blog and was intrigued when a simple recipe came up last month for Spiced Cranberry Jam. Then, right at the bottom of the post before the recipe was a link to her Pickled Cranberries. […]

  3. Spiced Cranberry Jam | the babbling botanist - December 28, 2013

    […] Christmas time means cranberries! They are on sale and we always end up with too many. So, with all those leftover cranberries we made spiced cranberry jam! If you have leftover cranberry sauce, or leftover cranberries, this is a great way to use them. Thanks to Marisa from food in jars for this recipe. […]

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