This blog is about my journey into the world of canning, or "putting up" as others would like to call it. I will try to pickle almost anything and smash berries and sugar together on any given day. I'll also write about general baking, which is another passion of mine, but not as overwhelming, addictive or obsessive as canning has become.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Cranberry Apple Jam

What's better than cranberry apple jam in the fall?  Pumpkin butter?  Well, you can't can pumpkin safely at home unless it's in cubed squares in a pressure cooker, so try again.  Unless you're Betty Crocker - and I mean, literally BETTY CROCKER, you can't can pumpkin at home, safely, so stop your crying.

The next best thing is cranberry apple jam for the fall.  Just the thought of it brings to mind hazy memories of colored leaves, rock walls and apples lying in the orchard.  You can't technically "pick" cranberries, but they are a great steal this time of year at 2 bags for $4, so indulge yourself and buy 10.  Bags.  They freeze well.  No, they freeze fantastically well.  They are little frozen pearls of tart sweetness.  Like little red marbles.  There is no bad frozen cranberry, especially in its whole form.  Frozen bags of whole cranberries will last me until next summer, as long as I freeze enough.  They are the faint reminder when it's 92 degrees outside that fall will be here, eventually, and pumpkins will take precedence over summer squash and watermelons.  Do yourself a favor and freeze a few bags.  Your summer palette will thank you.

The combination of apple and cranberry are delightful.  They bring you back to the days of being a kid and raking leaves into piles, jumping in them and then having to re-rake because you ruined the pile and the wind took your leaves into the neighbor's yard.  Your parents make you re-rake the leaves into neat piles and then bag them and dump them over the hill towards the woods.  Regardless of how much you hate raking, and I hate raking, you love the feeling of the cooler air, the scent of pumpkin spice bread drifting from your mom's kitchen and the crackle of the leaves beneath your feet. 

That same nostalgic feeling overcame me as I was cooking up my latest batch of jam.  The bright red cranberries at their bursting point as they're boiling alongside the diced apples.  The smell that overcomes your kitchen, and then your entire house, is fresh and inviting, as well as reminiscent of old memories from your childhood.  The sweet-tartness fills the air and wisps into each room until your entire home is filled with ripe-fall deliciousness.  There are many things in life that fail to make a person feel warm and cozy, but this is not one of them.  You'll eventually have sensory overload and suddenly you'll be transfixed into fall mode.  You will find it absolutely necessary to run to the local nursery and stock up on pumpkins, gourds and cornstalks for your front porch.

If you're looking for a quick pick-me-up when you look outside and see the leaves fall and all you can do is fast-forward to snow (we had way too much in 2010), ice (again, way too much in 2010) and freezing temps (get the idea by now?), give this recipe a try.  It's a keeper, for sure.  This is one you'll want to put in a safe place and keep for the following years when you hit the pre-winter blues even though it's not even Halloween yet. 

Please note:  The following recipe was 100% inspired by, but I altered the original recipe a bit by adding cinnamon sticks and increasing the quantity of apples.

Cranberry Apple Jam
(I call this Cranberry Apple instead of Apple Cranberry because the cranberries seem to take center stage with their crisp tartness.  The apples help downplay the bite of the cranberries a bit by lending the berries some of their natural sweetness).

  • 10 cups of peeled and diced apples (picked from Easy Pickin's in Enfield, CT)
  • 4 cups of whole cranberries
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
Get a BIG pot and add the apples, cranberries, sugar, water and cinnamon sticks.  Boil the mixture for 10-15 minutes, making sure to skim off the foam that forms on the top.  During the 10-15 minutes, the cranberries should begin to burst and the apples will become soft.

Add the lemon juice and zest and cook for a little while longer until the liquid begins to thicken.  Luckily, apples and cranberries are both naturally high in pectin so you don't have to add any additional pectin to the mixture to thicken it.  It'll do the work on its own, naturally.   

Make sure the mixture is nice and thick and "jammy" looking.  Ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars and process in a boiling water canning bath for 10 minutes.  This is a very easy recipe so if you're a first time canner, give this one a try.  You won't be disappointed.


  1. It looks and sounds wonderful.

  2. Pam - thank you :) I love your blog as well; your recipes look awesome.

  3. These look so good! I love to cook/bake, etc. too. I will definitely be trying out some of these delicious looking recipes! I found your blog from a post on the Superpowers of RA blog (or something like that). Any tips for dealing with RA while working in the kitchen are greatly appreciated!!!

    1. Hi there! Sorry for the late response. I don't have any tricks for dealing with RA while working in the kitchen..wish I did. If I'm sore, I just avoid the kitchen for a bit. I've been on a new med since October and things have really improved..which is why I was stirring things up in the kitchen a lot!

      Once the spring is here to stay and fruits/veggies are around I'll start things up again and begin posting more.

      Take care!