This Christmas Jam is a delicious, sweet-tart blend of cranberries, strawberries, oranges, and seasonal spices that are sure to please your palate. Perfect for canning up and giving away as a thoughtful, homemade gift this season!
I love the flavors associated with the Christmas season. From sweet, delicious homemade candies and chocolates to the sweet-tart flavor of cranberries and spices. There’s nothing quite like it.
A few years ago, we purchased some Christmas Jam from a local farmer’s market. We brought it home not quite knowing what to expect and were blown away by how delicious it was. I was never able to locate the merchant again to buy more, but I did start to experiment and perfect my own recipe.
And, after several trials and errors, I think I’ve finally found the one. The best, most simple blend of Christmas flavors anyone could ask for.
This jam is super easy. And that’s saying a lot coming from someone who isn’t all that great at making jam (I just haven’t had enough practice, yet). It’s also incredibly delicious and even better than that jam I purchased from the farmer’s market years ago.
Since this jam cans up so well, it will keep for a long while and is a fantastic homemade Christmas gift idea. The longer it sits, the better it tastes, so there’s no harm in making it up in October and giving it away in December.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a fan of practical, thoughtful gifts for Christmas. Sure, you can buy anyone something, but nothing quite says “I was really thinking of you and I love you” like a homemade gift.
Especially when that gift is a jar of this delicious Christmas jam.
But, be forewarned. It’s so good, you’re going to want to keep it all to yourself!!
You can use fresh or frozen fruit in this recipe, so don’t feel like you’ve got to buy strawberries out of season to eat this stuff. You don’t. If you do choose to use frozen fruit, you’ll need to make sure you let it thaw completely before you start making it. The added water content may make it take just a tad longer to cook down, even after you’ve thawed the fruit, but it will taste essentially the same.
I know I’ve been known to forget and leave cranberries sitting in the freezer for longer than I intended. This recipe is the perfect use for those!
Tips for Making The Perfect Christmas Jam
- You can omit the pectin in this recipe. I use the pectin when I make mine, but it isn’t completely necessary. Cranberries and orange peels are naturally high in pectin. If you omit it, it will simply take a tad longer to reach gel stage.
- You can substitute honey for the sugar in this recipe. If you do, you’ll want to use a little less and either omit the pectin or use low sugar pectin in its place. It will change the flavor slightly, but it’s not super noticeable, in my opinion.
- If your Christmas Jam hasn’t gelled, it simply needs to cook longer.
- A simple way to check for gelling is to place a clean, dry, cool spoon into your syrup. Pull it out and when the jam starts dripping off in sheets (two drops at a time forming a sort of “sheet”) it is gelled and ready for canning.
- If you overcook it (i.e. it’s too thick), you can bring some port or apple juice to a boil and slowly add it to the jam until it’s the consistency you want.
- If you undercook the jam (it’s runny after you open up a jar), you can fix it! Simply combine the canned jam (a jar or two at a time) with 2 teaspoons of sugar, 2 teaspoons of juice or port wine, 1/2 Tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of powdered pectin per half pint of jam and bringing it to a hard boil and allowing it to hard boil for 1 minute. Then, remove it from the heat, test for the gel stage and jar it up and process it like you did before.
- You can safely store it for up to 1 year on the shelf as long as it is properly sealed.
Tools I Used to Make Christmas Jam
This delicious, festive Christmas jam is the perfect blend of holiday goodies and perfect for gift giving.
- 12 Oz Cranberries (fresh or frozen, thaw first if frozen)
- 1 Orange, peeled and sectioned
- 2 t Orange Zest, from the peel
- 16 Oz Fresh or FrozenStrawberries (thaw if you use frozen)
- 1/4 t Ground Cloves
- 1/4 t Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 t Allspice
- 4 C Sugar, pure cane is best
- 1 Package Powder Fruit Pectin
- 1/2 C Water
- Wash jars, lids, and rings. Fill jars 2/3rds full of water and place in water-bath canner. Fill with water. Put canner on stove over medium-high heat to sterilize jars while you make the jam.
- Place lids in a small saucepan covered with water. Boil over medium-high heat while you make the jam. Set rings to the side, they don't need sterilized.
- Place cranberries and sectioned orange into a blender. You just want them coarsely chopped. My blender has a food chop option, and I use that.
- Add in the strawberries, orange zest and spices. Stir a bit in the blender to make sure they get mixed a little. Blend until everything is chopped fine. You don't want it pureed.
- Stir fruit mixture and water together in a 5 qt stock pot.
- Stir in fruit pectin and add your 1/2 teaspoon of butter (this reduces foaming).
- Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over high heat, stir constantly.
- Add sugar to the mixture. Return to full rolling boil. Boil exactly 1 minute.
- Remove from heat. Using a metal spoon, skim off any foam.
- Immediately ladle hot jam into prepared jars. Leaving 1/4" headspace.
- Wipe rims and threads. Center lid. Place ring on just finger tight. Place jars back in canner.
- When all the jars are filled, fill canner with water until jars are covered with 2".
- Cover canner. Bring to a boil. Process for 10 minutes.
- Turn off heat. Uncover canner. Allow jars to sit for 5 minutes.
- Remove jars to a towel-lined counter and leave undisturbed for 24 hours before checking seal.
- Check for proper seal. If any didn't seal, place in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 37Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 0g
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Thursday 9th of March 2023
I made this delicious recipe and I had to make another batch. This recipe is indeed a keeper. Thank you for sharing.
Sunday 19th of March 2023
So glad you enjoyed it, Juanita! It is one of our favorites for sure!
Wednesday 28th of December 2022
I was recently introduced to christmas jam and enjoyed it so much i made 4 batches to give as gifts over the holidays. Friends are still calling me for the recipe! I followed the suggestion of the author and did not use pectin— it turned out just fine! It is a wonderful, not too sweet jam, that incorporates many of the flavors we associate with the holidays. What makes it outstanding is the combination of fruit and addition of spices. Without the strawberries and oranges it would just be cranberry sauce. Thank you for your easy-to-follow directions.
Thursday 29th of December 2022
So glad you and yours enjoyed it, Joy!
Thursday 15th of December 2022
I have made this delicious jam with both fresh & frozen fruit and it turns out perfect every time! I have also substituted both blueberries & raspberries for the strawberries and they are also quite tasty! I have made no other changes to this recipe... it is perfect as is!
Tuesday 27th of December 2022
So glad you like it, Beverly!
Tuesday 13th of December 2022
Delicious. I make it frequently, using frozen cranberries I stock up on over the holidays. I use frozen cherries instead of the strawberries.
Wednesday 14th of December 2022
Sunday 11th of December 2022
A question: Could raspberries be used instead of strawberries?
Sunday 11th of December 2022