Cranberry orange jam – the perfect holiday gift
With the gift giving season upon us, this cranberry orange jam serves as a simple but sumptuous host/hostess gift or wonderful side dish for your holiday buffet.
When I first developed this jam recipe, I knew I wanted to keep the sugar level as low as possible and use my “secret” citrus liqueur called 43. Any orange liqueur will do but it’s optional. Don’t worry if you don’t have any.
Do you need pectin to thicken this jam?
I decided to thicken the jam with the natural pectin from a shredded apple. Many fruits – apples are an example – have natural pectin in them. Since apple and cranberry mix well together, I decided to use shredded apple to thicken this jam. You can’t really discern any apple flavor in the end but it sure does its job thickening this up! Shredding that apple is the most time-consuming part of this refrigerator jam recipe – it’s so easy!
How to use orange cranberry jam
The jam is outstanding as a spread on a turkey sandwich, a tangy tart addition to a holiday brunch buffet, or a wonderful surprise bite inside a mini corn muffin. Use any cornbread recipe, fill each muffin tin halfway, add a dab of the jam and fill the rest of the way. Bake as usual. Doesn’t that sound yummy? Or try it on your next cheese platter – it pairs beautifully with goat cheese and so much more.
Step to make the jam
- Rinse off your cranberries and put them in your medium saucepan.
- Zest and juice the orange and add both to the cranberries in the pan.
- Add the sugar.
- Grate the apple and add it to the pot as well
- Give it a mix and bring it to a boil. Keep it at a low boil and you’ll hear the cranberries start to pop.
- About 10 minutes in, add in your orange liqueur if using it. This is also a good time to take a masher and squish some of the berries further. I leave lots of texture but like to smooth it out a bit.
- At about 15 minutes in, I turn it off, let it cool for a bit, then put it in jars and refrigerate. Remember this is not a recipe for canning. Just refrigerate or even freeze the jam for later use.
Other recipes that pair well with this festive jam
Top your potato latkes with cranberry jam, instead of just applesauce or sour cream. Really – it’s fantastic!
Make Cranberry Crostini or serve the cranberry jam with goat cheese and crackers.
Prepare a cheese and charcuterie platter using cranberry jam as one of the spreads.
More Thanksgiving recipes to inspire you
Love leftovers? How about this Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Stuffing Crust!
Helpful supplies for making orange and cranberry jam
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Here are helpful supplies for making cranberry orange jam. Jam jars, whether Ball or Kerr or any brand you prefer are not only nice to have around for jam-making but you’ll find many other uses for them. They are much cheaper by the each if you buy them in bulk. A good potato masher is always handy to have around. And we have had an All-Clad sauce pot I think since we were married. We use that pot all the time!
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Cranberry Orange Jam Recipe
- 1 cup superfine sugar (regular would be fine too)
- 16 ounces of fresh cranberries (if you have a package in the freezer – can use them straight out of the freezer – no problem)
- Juice and zest of 1 orange (juice should be about ½ cup – add water or orange juice if necessary to bring up to a ½ cup)
- 1 medium apple (peeled, cored, grated (any variety apple you have will do but tarter apples have more natural pectin which helps thicken the jam))
- 2 tablespoons orange liqueur (optional)
- Put all ingredients, except liqueur, in a medium saucepan on medium heat – bring to a boil, then keep at a low boil for about 15 minutes.
- Intermittently, you’ll hear the cranberries popping. Mix often to check for thickening. If cranberries have not all popped and it’s getting too thick, add a bit more water or orange juice.
- Taste for sweetness and flavor at about 10 minutes, and if desired, add in the orange liqueur. This is also a good time to use a wooden spoon or potato masher to break up some of the chunks, depending on the texture you prefer.
- Cook for another 5 minutes, take off heat and let it cool off.
- Makes about 3.5 cups. Once cool, put in jars and refrigerate. Should last about 2 weeks or you can freeze some for later use.