Friday, December 20, 2013

Cranberry Port Jam

Have you left your holiday gift-making to the last minute? Usually I make lots of jams in the summer to give as gifts, but this year I had too much going on and failed to get much canned!  If you're in my boat (or just need a few extras), this cranberry port jam is the answer to your problems.  It's easy to make (at least as jam-making goes) and uses a winter fruit.  Plus, it's extra delicious! I was a little worried the jam would just taste like cranberry sauce, but the port and sugar really take it into jam territory.  I think it would be fantastic on biscuits or dinner rolls, and my friend suggested using it on a turkey sandwich (yum!).  The best part is, this makes six jars, so you'll have some to give and some to keep.

Note: If you're new to canning/preserving, you should do some reading beyond this recipe or try it out with an experienced friend.  I took an in-person class from these guys and it really gave me the knowledge and confidence to do lots of canning without fear of poisoning anyone!  If you're not sure about how to can properly, this recipe will work just fine as a freezer jam.

Cranberry Port Jam (adapted from Serious Eats, original recipe here)
Makes 6 half-pint jars

12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1-1/2 cups ruby port
1/2 cup water
1 package liquid pectin (such as Certo)
1/2 tsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
4-1/2 cups granulated sugar

1. Pulse the cranberries in the food processor until coarsely chopped.  Place in a very large pot -- you will need more space than you think, because there's a lot of sugar and the jam will bubble vigorously!  Add the port and water.  Bring to a boil, and then simmer until the cranberries have softened, stirring occasionally.  This should take about 10 minutes.
2. Add the pectin and butter, and return the mixture to a boil.  Once the mixture boils, add the dried cranberries and sugar all at once.  Return to a hard boil (i.e. one that cannot be stirred down), and boil for one minute.  Make sure to stir constantly during this part, as the jam can easily burn!  Remove the jam from the heat.
3. Ladle the jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.  If you're using the standard half-pint size, you will need six.  At this point, you can let the jam cool and then refrigerate or freeze.  Or, you can preserve the jam in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.  Let the jars sit out at room temperature overnight, and then check to make sure the lids have popped before storing at room temperature and/or gifting.

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