December has conspired to make me late with everything. I don’t think I over committed but one thing led to another and I just couldn’t catch up. I am pretty sure I am not the only one who found herself in this frustrating state. I promised to post this recipe on Christmas Eve and I will not let the New Year ring in with the recipe still languishing about only in my head. So, here it is!
I love to give homemade goodies as Christmas gifts. This year my plan was to make a super easy cranberry port jam and gift it with a nice soft cheese - like a Brie or a Camembert. The jam goes together so fast that it seems to make itself. You can choose to make the finished product shelf stable by processing it in a water bath or skip the water bath and store the jars in the refrigerator once they have cooled.
It takes 2 packages of fresh cranberries to make this recipe. You will want to wash the berries and discard any that are bruised or soft. Otherwise, the berries need no extra attention - no chopping, slicing or peeling. Zesting a small orange is the only other prep needed. Cranberries are high in pectin making the cooking time short and there is no need to add extra pectin - yay!
You will want to stay with the jam while it is cooking. There is little danger of undercooking this recipe but it is pretty easy to overcook it and end up with a stiff jam. So, once you see the jam start to thicken you are done. You will want to immediately add the orange zest, remove the pan from the heat and begin filling your jars.
Now here is your big decision. Do you want to make your jam shelf stable by water bath canning? If you do, I encourage you to read through the entire process on the Ball Canning Website. If you choose to go the refrigerator route, make sure you mark your gift jars as needing refrigeration.
Cranberry Port Jam
Makes 6 quarter pint jars.
Adapted from a Ball Canning recipe.
4 cups fresh cranberries - about 1 pound
1 cup sugar
1 cup port wine
Zest of 1 orange
Combine cranberries, sugar and port into a wide bottom, non-reactive pan, and cook over a medium high heat until the berries begin to split. Mash the berries with the back of your spoon as the jam cooks.
When the jam starts to thicken stir in the orange zest. Bring the mixture to a quick boil and then remove the pan from heat,
Fill sterilized jars to 1/4 inch from top.
If you are planning to store your jam in the refrigerator, put the lids on and leave the jars to cool. Once cool, place the jars in the refrigerator. The jam is good for several weeks.
If you want to make your jam shelf stable by water bath canning, then head to Ball Canning for directions.
Serve with a soft cheese like Brie or Camembert. This is also a good alternative to traditional cranberry sauce.