Monday, November 21, 2011

recipe: cranberry strawberry jam...

Fall is here, with winter right behind. That means two things to me: Thanksgiving and Christmas. I've been trying to think of a perfect autumnal AND wintery jam to create but started to have a bit of trouble. I was walking through our local health food store and WHAM! there they were: organic fresh cranberries. Now, having read this you're probably going, "Duh! Cranberries!"...but back in October there weren't any around yet (which is usually how I get inspiration- our stores and farmer's markets). I didn't have those cranberries sitting there, all pretty and such, mixtures of bright and dark red...sitting...patiently...waiting for me to see them. Anyway..that's exactly what inspired this jam: Cranberry Strawberry.

I played around a bit until I found what I think is the best balance of tart and sweet. I'm thinking this jam will be perfect on a Thanksgiving table waiting to dollop biscuits or turkey...or yummy as a Christmas snack. After tasting spoonfuls upon spoonfuls a tiny bit of this yummy jam I have to say- it definitely is perfectly sweet with a touch of tartness coming from those fresh organic cranberries. There are hints of warm vanilla and cinnamon swirling throughout and also a bit of fresh light orange- this jam is too good to pass up. 

So...hey, Merry early Christmas to you friend- here's the recipe so you can make it yourself (and impress your loved ones)!!

Makes one 16oz jar or two 8oz jars

  • 12oz fresh organic strawberries
  • 8oz fresh organic cranberries
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar
  • the zest of half an orange
  • the juice of one whole orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick

1. Wash strawberries and cranberries. Cut tops off each strawberry and discard.

2. Cut vanilla bean in half length-wise and scrape out seeds. In a medium sized saucepan add all ingredients including vanilla bean and seeds. Mix together lightly.

3. Place over a medium to medium-high flame and cook gently until the berries have given off their liquid. Bring this mixture to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally.

4. Once your mixture has come to a boil, insert a candy thermometer (and/or place a dessert plate in the freezer- you'll see why in a second).

5. Turn down flame to low. Gently and slowly cook mixture (still stirring occasionally) until your thermometer reaches 210-220*F, about 20 minutes.

**If you don't have a candy thermometer, after 10 minutes take plate out of freezer and place a dollop of mixture on surface of plate. Let sit about 2 minutes. If jam is runny, continue to cook. If it holds it's place when plate is tilted you're there!

**Even if you have a thermometer, it's still good to test your jam with the plate method. This just ensures your jam isn't too runny.

6. Take pot off heat and remove vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Puree until desired consistency. We like our jam pretty smooth.

7. Immediately pour mixture into sterilized jam jars and secure with lid. Let let sit room temperature until you hear the "POP" of the lid- this means your jam is sealed and will prevent bacteria!

8. Place in fridge after opening or wrap as gifts for friends! 

My jam is all natural- using as few ingredients as possible. Everything is slow cooked to allow the fruit to create it's own pectin (thickening agent) so I don't have to use any. One taste and your whole head is filled with that warm, spicy, sweet, calming scent of autumn and winter goodness.


Did any of you see Breaking Dawn this weekend!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! The hubbie and I did Saturday night (we have our reasons for not attending the 12am showing ;) AND HOLY MOLY! ...HOLY....MOLY...

That is all I will say. Good movie indeed!


  1. Going to try your Vanilla Shortbread recipe - perfect time to try 'stamping' the cookie with a scrapbook stamp. I saw this on another blog and have been wanting to try it! Thanks for the recipe!

  2. This sounds great. Going to give it a try as soon as I can find fresh cranberries.


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