Christmas Jam Recipe: How to Make It

As the holiday season approaches, it’s actually the perfect time for canning. This Christmas Jam warms up your kitchen and makes your whole house smell amazing.

The recipe is the perfect balance of fresh berries and tart oranges, warmed up with spices.

You’ll love it spread on a biscuit with your morning coffee or packaged as a beautiful homemade gift. This canning recipe is great all year, especially for adding cheer to cold, short days.

finished christmas jam in pint mason jar.

Christmas Jam for Canning

Strawberries and cranberries are bright, fruity friends, and orange zest, cinnamon, and cloves add a warm, festive touch.
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Serving Size 8 half-pints

Equipment

  • 8 half-pint canning jars with lids and bands
  • Large pot for water bath canning
  • Canning funnel
  • Ladle
  • Jar lifter
  • Bubble remover/headspace tool
  • Clean cloth
  • Kitchen timer

Ingredients 

  • 40 ounces frozen unsweetened strawberries thawed (fresh is fine but usually more expensive)
  • 1 pound fresh cranberries
  • zest from 2 oranges about 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 5 pounds granulated sugar
  • 2 3 ounce pouches liquid fruit pectin

Instructions 

  • Prepare the equipment: Wash your jars, lids, and screw bands in hot, soapy water and rinse well. Keep the jars warm until they are ready to be used, in order to prevent them from breaking when filled with hot jam. Prepare your water bath canner by filling it halfway with water and bringing it to a simmer.
    canning supplies laid out on counter.
  • Combine the fruits and juice. In a large, deep stainless steel saucepan, combine the crushed strawberries, cranberries, and lemon juice.
    pot with fruit being cooking down.
  • Add sugar and pectin. Add the sugar and pectin all at once, return the mixture to a full rolling boil, and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
    sugar on top of fruit in saucepan.
  • Skim foam. Remove from heat and skim off any foam with a metal spoon.
    skimming foam off jam.
  • Fill the jars. Ladle hot jam into the prepared jars, leaving a 1/4-inch headspace. Use the bubble remover/headspace tool to remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace if necessary. Wipe the rim of each jar with a clean cloth to remove any jam or residue. Center the lid on the jar, apply the band, and adjust to fingertip-tight.
    process of ladling jam into cars.
  • Process the jars. Place the filled jars in the canner ensuring they are completely covered with water by at least 1 inch. Cover the canner and bring the water to a gentle, steady boil. Process the jars for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude if necessary. Turn off the heat, remove the canner lid, and let the jars stand in the water for 5 minutes.
    jars in waterbath canner.
  • Cool Down. Remove the jars from the water using the jar lifter and place them on a kitchen towel, leaving some space between each jar. Let the jars cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours.
    jars of jam cooling on counter.
  • Check Seals: After 24 hours, check that the lids have sealed by pressing down on the center of each lid. If the lid does not pop back, the seal is good. Label your jars and store them in a cool, dark place.

Notes

Always label your jars with the date of canning and what’s inside. A lot of jams look the same!
Read below the recipe for troubleshooting, tips, and more. 
finished jam with spoon in jar.

What you’ll need

It’s all fruit and spices with this recipe.

  • Cranberries are the tart berries that give jam its classic Christmas taste.
  • Strawberries: Their sweetness balances the tartness of the cranberries.
  • Orange Zest: Adds a citrusy zing, enhancing the flavor.
  • Cinnamon and Cloves: These spices provide a warm, festive fragrance and taste.
strawberries, oranges, pectin, sugar, and spices laid out on counter.

Classic canning equipment.

  • Canning Jars with Lids and Bands: Essential for storing and preserving the jam.
  • Large Pot for Water Bath Canning: For sterilizing jars and processing the filled jars.
  • Canning Funnel: Helps in pouring jam into jars without a mess.
  • Jar Lifter: For handling hot jars.
  • Bubble Remover: Fits in the jar to get rid of air bubbles.

 Canning Supplies Set of 8 – Canning Kit for Beginners – Complete Home Canners Equipment – Mason Jar Lifter, Funnel & Wrench, Tongs, Bubble Popper, Magnetic Lid Lifter, Canning Labels & Lids Cackleberry Home Strawberry Patch Jacquard Border Terry Kitchen Towels 17 x 27 Inches, Set of 4 Kerr Wide Mouth Half-Pint Glass Mason Jars with Lids and Bands, 8 oz, 12 Count (Pack of 2)

 

Tips for the best jam

  • Inspect and sort the cranberries and strawberries. Remove any that are bruised or moldy. This ensures a consistent, high-quality jam.Stick to the recipe. The sugar in jam isn’t just for sweetness. It’s important for preservation.
  • To avoid burning the jam, use a pot with a heavy bottom for even heat distribution. Avid jammakers love copper pots, but they’re expensive.
  • While you stir, scrape the pot’s bottom to prevent sticking and burning. This is especially important as the jam thickens.
  • Try using a little nutmeg or allspice to flavor your jam.
  • Choose a draft-free area for cooling your jars. Sudden temperature changes can affect the sealing process.

Always label your jars with the date of canning and what’s inside. A lot of jams look the same!

If you notice any mold on opened jars, discard the jam. This could be due to insufficient sterilization or sealing.

Storage instructions

Unopened Jars: Properly sealed and stored Christmas jam can last for up to 1 year. After a year, the jam is still safe to eat but the quality may begin to degrade.

Opened Jars: Once opened, refrigerate the jam. For best quality, consume it within 1 to 3 weeks.

Avoid storing in areas with big temperature changes. This can break the seal or spoil the jam early.

If you aren’t comfortable canning yet, you can freeze this instead. Make sure to use freezer-safe containers and leave some headspace for expansion. To use, thaw the jam in the refrigerator. Once thawed, consume it within a month.

More jam recipes to love

Canning jams is one of our favorite things, so I have lots of recipes to share.

  • Our Triple Berry Jam is a delightful mix of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. It’s like enjoying a taste of summer in every spoonful.”
  • Small Batch Strawberry Jam is made with love and tastes like fresh-picked strawberries.”
  • Experience the nostalgia with our Old-Fashioned Blackberry Jam. It is made from plump, juicy blackberries for that classic, homemade taste.”
  • USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning: This comprehensive guide offers research-based recommendations for canning safer and better-quality food at home. It covers scientific principles, canning equipment, and the proper use of jars and lids. You can find it at USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning​​.
  • Food Preservation: Home Canning Safety by CDC: This blog post by the CDC provides valuable insights into safe home canning practices. Check it out at Food Preservation: Home Canning Safety | Blogs | CDC​​.
  • Here’s a guide on How to Create Your Own Unique Jam Flavors too.

This mix of strawberries, cranberries, and a touch of spices is a heartwarming Christmas gift.

christmas jam  on bread
Christmas Jam Recipe: How to Make It

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