Sweet Tangy Christmas Jam Is Perfect For Gift Giving
Christmas Jam is perfect for gift-giving! It is a sweet and tangy marriage of strawberries and cranberries. Festive and beautiful, the crimson color says, “hello, Christmas!” It is the jam you want to use in thumbprint cookies or slathered on your piping hot rolls at Christmas dinner.
The wonderful thing about making Christmas jam is that you can use fresh and frozen fruit or a combination of fresh and frozen fruit! In this case, it’s November, and fresh cranberries are abundant! However fresh strawberries are out of season, but you can use beautiful unsweetened frozen whole ones that were picked at the height of perfection!
If you get a notion to make this yummy Christmas jam in June, you can use fresh strawberries and frozen cranberries with equally awesome results!
Important Things You Need To KnowTo Be Ready For Your Jam Session
We love to make jam, and when we do, we always say we’re having a “jam session” simply because it makes it sound even more fun! Read through the instructions before you begin, and be ready to follow them. They are simple but critical to success.
Before you begin, get all your canning supplies together to avoid a mad rush to the store. Once you have started a batch, it’s almost impossible to stop. That’s my lovely canning towel. Probably a graduation gift from long ago. I keep it stashed in a handy drawer on my kitchen island, where we conduct our jam sessions!
Everything you’ll need is readily available at grocery stores, hardware stores, online, and even at Walmart. The things you’ll need are inexpensive and last a long time. And believe me, you’ll find lots of uses for jars, jar lifters, and canning funnels beyond making jam!
We like to use half-pint jars that hold about a cup of jam. Run them through the dishwasher or wash them in hot sudsy water and rinse them thoroughly before using them. Set the rings aside in a handy spot at your workspace. Put the flats in a container with very hot water. And now you are ready!
How To Make This Gorgeous Christmas Jam
If you are processing your Christmas jam for long-term storage, you will need a second stockpot deep enough to hold the jars allowing at least one inch of water over the lids. If you have hard water, add a couple of glugs of vinegar to the water to keep lime from forming on your jars. Set that on the stove now to heat.
You will need a twelve-ounce bag of cranberries, about three cups, and three cups of whole frozen strawberries. Just make sure the strawberries are unsweetened! I started with the strawberries in a large pot over very low heat. I wanted them to defrost so that I could mash them.
Meanwhile, measure exactly six cups of sugar into a measuring cup and set it aside. This is an important step because when you add sugar to the fruit, you must add it all at once.
I started by putting the frozen strawberries in a large pot over low heat so they would defrost and allow me to mash them. Next, I added the cranberries and let them cook a bit so they would begin to pop open and release all those yummy juices.
Once that lovely mixture began to boil, I added a box of powdered pectin and a teaspoon of butter. The butter is optional, but it helps prevent foam from forming on the top of the jam.
Once the fruit mixture comes to a boil, add all the sugar and continue cooking. Yes, it is a lot of sugar. This isn’t diet food! Jam is meant to be a treat and eaten in small quantities! As the jam cooks, the mixture becomes clear, colorful, and very, very hot.
The sugar makes it boil at a temperature hotter than boiling water. I suggest you use the longest spoon you have, and I have even put a glove or an oven mitt on your stirring hand!
When it reaches a boiling point that you can not “stir down,” set a timer for exactly one minute and keep stirring. When the timer sounds, take the pot off the heat and move it to a cooling rack or a thickly folded towel like my hot pink one in the photo!
Use your canning funnel to ladle the hot mixture into the jelly jars. Leave at least one-half inch of headspace between the jam and the top of the jar. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe off the jar’s rim. Place a flat lid on the jar, then screw the lid and ring in place.
Place each filled jar in the boiling water bath using your jar lifter.
Here Are The Final Steps To A Successful Jam Session
You’ll need to process the jars in a boiling water bath for ten minutes. Set a ten-minute timer. When it rings, use the jar lifter to remove the jars from the water bath, put them on a rack or thickly folded towel, and let them sit undisturbed until they are completely cool.
- One 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
- 3 cups of frozen unsweetened strawberries
- One 1.75 ounce box of powdered pectin
- 6 cups of granulated sugar
- 1 tsp butter, optional, to help prevent foam from forming on the jam
- Get ready for your "jam session." Assemble everything you need before you begin! read the instructions carefully.
- Choose a tall stockpot to cook jam in. It must be defrosted and mashed up a little if frozen fruit is used. It's up to you how chunky you want to leave it.
- You'll need a second tall pot of water deep enough to cover the jars by one inch for the boiling water bath after filling them. Start it now. Put flats (lids) in a bowl of very hot water, ready to use. Add a tablespoon or so of vinegar to the water in the stockpot, so lime doesn't form on jars.
- Jars are fine to use if you've run them through a dishwasher on a hot cycle. Assemble a canning funnel, sterilized jars, jar lifter, flats, rings, and a clean damp dishcloth for wiping rims. Lay a thick bath towel on the area where you'll fill your jars.
- Now, combine fruit, pectin, and butter in the stockpot. Bring to a boil.
- Next, add sugar all at once, and keep cooking and stirring until the mixture reaches such a boiling point that it cannot be "stirred down." You do not need a thermometer.
- Keep cooking for one minute; set a timer! The jam will be HOT! Use a very long wooden spoon to keep stirring, or wear an oven mitt on your stirring hand! Remember: The jam will be HOT!
- Remove from heat. Put the pot of jam on a heatproof cutting board or trivet. It's hot!
- Ladle jam into sterilized jars with a canning funnel. Leave about 1/2" headspace. Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean, damp cloth. Check for any nicks on the jar rim with your fingertip. Do not use it if a nick is present. Put on the flat lid and ring. Tighten by hand.
- Put jars in a boiling water bath and process for 10 minutes. Using the jar lifter, remove jars from the water bath onto a rack or towel-covered surface. Allow them to sit without moving them until cool. You'll hear the distinctive "ping" sound as the jars seal.
- If one does not seal, refrigerate it and use it within about a month. Trust me; this will not be hard to do!
Success! Enjoy hearing the satisfying “ping” sound as the jars seal. We love making jam and jelly! Here are some of our most popular recipes! Strawberry Rhubarb Jam, Jalapeno Jelly, Peach Jam, Corn Cob Jelly.
Has anyone ever taught you to make jam and jelly? It’s easy and rewarding; we hope you try it!
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