This Christmas jam recipe makes jam that's perfect for gift-giving! It's 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 this Christmas jam recipe 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 jam in June, you can use fresh strawberries and frozen cranberries with equally awesome results!
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 Christmas jam recipe 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!
If you're processing your jam for long-term storage, you'll need a second stockpot deep enough to hold the jars and allow 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.
To make this Christmas jam recipe, you'll need a twelve-ounce bag of cranberries (about three cups) and three cups of unsweetened whole frozen strawberries. 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 my 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.
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.
I love making jam and jelly! It's one of the few things we get to do where you can actually see the finished results and count each precious jar! Jams and jellies make welcome gifts and they're great to give to those "hard-to-buy-for" people on your list!
I just made some beautiful golden Apricot Jam, and everyone loves my Peach Jam. Orange marmalade is a favorite of mine, and I'll be making it again soon! Stay tuned for more fun jelly and jam recipes!
If you liked this recipe, you are my people! And if you like this recipe, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter! It would sure tickle me, and I would be ever so grateful!
Love, GB (Betty Streff)
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