Cranberry Marmalade with Dried Apricots

December 10, 2010(updated on November 2, 2021)

This cranberry marmalade transforms fresh cranberries, diced orange, tart apple, dried apricots, and honey into the ideal condiment for an autumnal cheeseboard!

Jar of darkly colored cranberry marmalade sitting on top of a copy of the Essential New York Times Cookbook.

I’m not quite sure how it’s possible, but we’ve reached the end of the 2010 Can Jam. I’m not sure if I’m still even eligible to participate. I’ve gotten my posts up past the deadline the last two times. However, it felt strange not to finish things off, so I’m posting a contribution nonetheless.

sliced oranges for cranberry marmalade

As you might guess, due to Wednesday’s potluck, I’ve had The Essential New York Times Cookbook on the brain a bit lately. I’ve had my copy for about two weeks now. Even before Amanda Hesser signed it, I found myself carrying it from room to room (granted, we really only have three rooms, so that isn’t as much of a feat as it sounds) so as to always have it near. You know, in case a recipe emergency struck.

Cranberry marmalade in an orange pot on a turquoise stove.

When it was time to determine what I was going to make for the December Can Jam, it felt right to turn to my new best-friend-in-book-form and see what it had to offer. There’s a whole chapter devoted to Sauces, Dressings, Condiments, Rubs and Preserves, so there was quite a wealth to choose from. Keeping the theme ingredient (dried fruit) in mind, I settled on a recipe for Cranberry Chutney. It called for dried apricots and was quite seasonal to boot.

Photo of a portion of the cranberry chutney recipe in the Essential New York Times Cookbook.

Originally designed as part of a low stress Thanksgiving meal, it’s a chutney recipe different from those I’ve encountered in the past. It does not include onions or vinegar, so it doesn’t offer the pucker or sweet-and-savory aspect that so many of us have come to associate with the word chutney. That does not mean, however, that it isn’t worth making. I found it to be quite delicious, though more akin to a cranberry marmalade than chutney (whole, chopped orange will do that a palate).

Bailing wire Ball jar filled with cranberry marmalade. It's sitting on a cloth napkin, which is on top of a wooden table top.

For once in my life, I followed the recipe fairly devotedly. The one place I deviated is that I did a bit of small batch canning with it. I kept one jar for the fridge (that’s the one you see above) and then filled as second (traditional, with a two-piece lid) pint jar with what remained and water bath canned it for ten minutes (using my handy little asparagus steamer).

I did this because while it was quite tasty, there’s no way I’ll be able to work my way through two full pints quickly enough to merit that kind of refrigerator space. Because the recipe was written for Thanksgiving, it did not include directions for canning. However, the recipe is made of up a cacophony of high acid ingredients, so there shouldn’t be a problem. For even longer preservation, you could replace some or all of the honey with cane sugar.

If you’re looking for a more traditional cranberry condiment, consider this Spiced Cranberry Jam or this Honey Maple Cranberry Sauce.

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Cranberry Marmalade

Servings: 5 half pints


  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tart apple, cored and minced
  • 12 dried apricots chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom


  • Combine the orange juice, cranberries and chopped orange in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a simmer and let cook until the cranberries begin to burst.
  • Add the apple, apricots, honey and cardamom and cook for approximately 20 minutes, until the orange rinds are tender and it has thickened (watch it carefully, honey scorches easily. I speak from experience here).
  • Once it has reached a consistency you like, remove it from the heat. Should you want to can it, pour chutney into clean, hot jars. Remove air bubbles, wipe the rims and apply lids and rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (don’t start your timer until the water has returned to a boil).
  • For an even longer keeping product, replace 3/4 of a cup of the honey with one cup of unprocessed cane sugar (honey is sweeter than sugar, so you need a bit more to make up the difference).

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34 thoughts on "Cranberry Marmalade with Dried Apricots"

  • I love this. Especially contained in that lovely Ball jar. I can’t help but wonder how it would taste if there were onion and vinegar.

  • This looks delicious. Don’t you just love using cardamom? It gives that special “something” that people can’t describe. Mmmmm

  • yes, you are so still in for the round-up this month! and i’m reminded how you turned me on to canning in these great vintage jars. on thanksgiving i was looking at my grandmother’s betty crocker cookbook from the 50’s and there were instructions on how to use them! (you leave the side wire halfway up when canning and close it when you take them out) 🙂

  • I couldn’t resist this one, and am amazed at how scarily quickly it cooked. Maybe 5 minutes simmer after adding the apple/honey/sugar/cardamon mix. I added the juice of one lemon because I had a lemon lying around waiting to be used, and then added a splash of balsamic for a little bit of kick. I also wonder about adding vinegar/onions to give it more of a chutney bite.

    Next time.

  • Sounds great! If I make this it will be the third marmalade in two weeks (I also did a meyer-lemon-lavender and carrot). Can anybody tell me more about using those beautiful old ideal jars for actual canning? I have a TON of them. They need a rubber gasket, right? Are those still available? I see gaskets for the zinc tops around, but can’t seem to find any info on the glass tops…Thanks!

  • Thank you! FYI – somebody is selling le parfait jelly jars on ebay for ridiculous prices – $11 for 12. They normally sell at that price for each one. This post should possibly be a pm, but hey!

  • This Cranberry not so Chutney more like Marmalade recipe looks like it creates a product that will be a wonderfully festive gift. I love cardamom. Thanks Marisa! Now, I have a question that I’m hoping someone might be able to answer briefly. Can anyone please share with me what in the world is “the jump”. For example in the above post “The recipe is after the jump”.

      1. When I use the phrase, “after the jump” it means that the recipe is hidden from the main page of the site and that you need to click through to the post-specific page. If you click over from a feed reader or an email alert about the post, the recipe is visible to you, but if you’re reading on the main page of the site, you won’t see it.

  • Cranberries and oranges, how can you go wrong? I do agree, though, I just can’t picture a chutney without onions or vinegar, though I’m sure it exists. Like right in that fab book! Happy End of Can Jam to you, Marisa!

  • I made this with canned apricots, about a cup more sugar and threw in some pumpkin seeds. Do you think the seeds will go bad more quickly than the sauce?

    Thanks so much for your blog, I love it.

    1. Angela, I don’t think the pumpkin seeds will go bad. They will rapidly start to lose their crunch though, so be prepared for that. And I’m so glad to hear you like FiJ! Thank you!

  • I made this with canned apricots, about a cup more sugar and threw in some pumpkin seeds. Do you think the seeds will go bad more quickly than the sauce? Thanks so much for your blog, I love it.

  • I went searching for cranberry marmalade recipes and of course ended up here. 🙂 I remember seeing this one in the round-up; but two questions:

    1. Is cane sugar really more shelf stable than honey? Honey doesn’t go bad, it will just crystallize over time so, I have to wonder if subbing sugar in would really increase the stability. Just my geeky curiousity.

    2. Have you ever heard Tigress’ advice about leaving the ball jar wire in the halfway position? Never heard that before… intriguing.

    1. Kaela, here’s the thing with using honey as your only sweetener. It does fine as a preservative when the jar is sealed. However, it loses its preservative power once you open it. Sugar will help fight the growth of mold once the jar is open, while honey isn’t able to do that (when it’s raw it can do it, but not once it’s been boiled). So I guess my statement wasn’t quite correct, replacing the honey won’t help with shelf stability, it will help with refrigerator stability.

      As far as Tigress’s advice, I had not heard that before. However, it does make a lot of sense.

  • Hmmm. Fascinating. I’ve really got to figure out more about how sugar & honey interact within the fruit matrix. (And yes, I just said ‘matrix.’) I really need to open up my Jam Lab.

    Thanks for the info!

  • Would using frozen cranberries be a mistake? I think I have a pint of fresh in the fridge but I know I stocked up when they were cheap in Dec. and put more than that in the freezer.

    I got my canner out to make beans tomorrow and I have the rest of the ingredients on hand already so it wouldn’t be hard to throw this together. I haven’t canned since October but once you start, it’s hard to stop, isn’t it?

  • When I read a recipe, and then read the comments posted by people who did not follow the directions or made capricious changes- I always think to myself- “well, you dope, what did you expect?”

    I made two batches of this jam as written, and they are great. I had leftover cranberries and apricots, so I made a third batch. It was only after I’d chopped everything up that I realized that I had no more cardamom. I substituted a big nob of fresh ginger grated on a microplane grater, and some cinnamon. Delicious! Perhaps I won’t be so hasty to condemn the freelancers in the future!

  • Marisa, would you sub sugar for honey on a 1:1 basis?
    Also, a reader asked about using frozen cranberries–is that OK?

    1. If swapping in sugar for honey, I would actually increase it by one-third (honey is sweeter than sugar). And frozen cranberries work just fine.

  • Sorry, just saw the info on subbing sugar in the directions. Am still curious about the frozen cranberries, though!

  • Marisa, I made this in Nov. 2017 and had noticed the content inside is loosing its bright color and is looking a little grayish. Is this normal?

  • I loved this recipe, especially because it has contained in that lovely ball jar. And one thing I can’t describe but imagine how it would taste if there were almonds and walnuts.