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Cranberry Preserves and Jam - A Great Homemade Gift

Updated on November 2, 2020
Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores has created home cooked foods and meals for years and enjoys giving jellies, jams, and baked goods as gifts.

Cranberry Preserves (photo by Dolores Monet)
Cranberry Preserves (photo by Dolores Monet)

Cranberries are Delicious

Jams, jellies, and preserves make great gifts. Whether you create a variety basket of jewel hued jams for a birthday or Christmas gift, or a single jar as a hostess gift - home cooked preserves, jams and jellies are always appreciated. And you do not need a pressure caner to process these delicious cranberry preserves and cranberry jam recipes - you can use any large, deep pot.

Cranberries are a popular winter fruit due to their health benefits, delicious flavor, and attractive red coloration.

Here is a recipe for cranberry preserves, a welcome flavor for winter with a beautiful ruby color. Following that is a recipe for cranberry jam that includes frozen strawberries. I have also included a recipe that needs no pectin at all.


Before cooking the preserves (or jam), make sure that you have the necessary materials. You will need:

  • A large pot for cooking the jam
  • A real large pot for the water bath to seal the jars
  • A metal rack to place at the bottom of the hot water bath
  • Jars, rim, and lids. 8 oz. sizes work best for jams, jellies, and preserves. You can buy a case that includes everything or, you can reuse old jars and rims. Make sure that you have new lids to ensure a tight seal
  • A large bowl for the measured sugar (always measure into a bowl first, then put the sugar in the pot.
  • Another large bowl or container for the fruit (always measure all the chopped fruit first, then put it in pot)
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Long handled cooking spoon
  • Tongs - to lift jars out of hot water
  • Apron (it's messy)

(photo by Dolores Monet)
(photo by Dolores Monet) | Source

Cranberry Preserves


6 Cups Cranberries

5 Cups Sugar

1 Orange

1 1/2 Cup Water

Finely chopped orange peel (optional)

1 Pouch Liquid Fruit Pectin

1/4 Cup Orange Juice

1 Slim Sliver of Margarine or Butter (to prevent foaming)

(photo by Dolores Monet)
(photo by Dolores Monet) | Source


  • Wash, rinse, then sterilize the jars, rims and lids. Pour boiling water in jars. Fill a bowl with rims and lids and cover with boiling water. Let stand until it's time to use them, then quickly dry with a clean towel
  • Chop orange
  • Rinse and coarsely chop cranberries. Measure and pour into a large pot
  • Measure sugar and pour into the same large pot
  • Add chopped orange (including peel), orange juice, margarine or butter, and water to the cranberries and sugar. Mix. Let stand for 10 minutes. (Doesn't it look pretty?)
  • Turn heat on high. Bring pot of cranberry mixture to full rolling boil while stirring continuously.
  • Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring continuously.
  • Remove from heat and add pectin (do not return to heat)
  • Stir and skim off foam for 5 minutes. If you added the margarine, there should be very little foam, but stirring keeps the fruit from all floating up at the top
  • Pour into clean jars to 1/4" of rims
  • Clean jar rims and edges
  • Set lids on top and attach rims, not too tightly, you want air to escape during processing
  • Place jars in hot water bath (boiling water) for 10 minutes to seal
  • Remove jars from hot water and let stand
  • If you press on the lid and it depresses, the led had not sealed. You can return the jar to the hot water bath or turn the jars upside down. If you hear a click, they have sealed.
  • Store in a cool, dark place
  • This recipe makes about 8 1/2 Cups. It's good to keep that extra 1/2 cup or so in a mug or unsealed jar so you can check the consistency, texture, and, of course, taste. Why seal it if you are going to eat it right away!

Recipe for Cranberry Holiday Jam


2 Cups Cranberries

1 Medium Orange

1 Lemon

1/2 Cup Water

3 Cups Sugar

1 10 oz. package frozen strawberries, crushed

3 ounces liquid pectin

Sliver of margarine to avoid foam.


  • Chop cranberries
  • Cut orange and lemon in quarters. Remove seeds and grind in food processor
  • Combine ground fruit, water, sugar and crushed strawberries in a large pot. Stir to blend.
  • Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring constantly
  • Bring to a full, rolling boil.
  • Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly
  • Remove from heat. Stir in pectin
  • Return to head and boil again for 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir for 5 minutes.
  • Pour into cleaned, sterilized jars and seal as above.

Cranberry Jam With No Pectin

I was surprised that this would work as it uses no pectin. But the mixture thickens and gels with time instead of added pectin. I made this one last year and it's delicious!

2 Twelve oz. Bags Fresh Cranberries

3 Cups Sugar

1 Cup Orange Juice

1 Cup Water

  • Lightly mash cranberries.
  • Add all ingredients to a large pot
  • Bring to a boil
  • Lower temperature and simmer, stirring often, until thick, about 20 minutes
  • Pour into clean sterilized jars, clean edge of jar, top with sterilized lids as above.
  • Place in hot water bath until sealed (about 5 minutes)

How to Tell if Canning Jars Are Sealed

The Sound of Canning Jars Sealing

© 2009 Dolores Monet


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    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      6 years ago from North Texas

      This sounds delicious and I bet they look pretty as well. Excellent gift and it sounds fairly easy to do as well. I liked that you listed the supplies/tools one needs to do this successfully so that people can round them up if they don't already have them.

      My mother used to can all she could from our garden and after my older sibs were grown up and married she would give each of their families 50 quarts of vegetables every Christmas along with some jams and jellies.

      Great article. Voted up and awesome!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      Vespa Woolf 

      9 years ago from Peru, South America

      I love cranberries any old way. I especially love the pairing of oranges and cranberries, so I'm bound to enjoy these recipes. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Dolores Monet profile imageAUTHOR

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Julie - oh yes! The flavor of oranges goes so well with cranberries and using some orange zest really does it for me. I think I'll have to try that one. Thank you so much for your input!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Made this today and it turned out absolutely beautiful and delicious. I made a couple of changes. I added three naval oranges, skin and all, that I had pulsed in the food processor until they were coarsely chopped, and ommitted the orange juice. I added 7 cups of sugar instead of 5 as I like a very sweet marmalade. I also added 1 teaspoon of ground cloves. I boiled it about 3 minutes instead of 1. I added 1 and 1/2 pouches of pectin. I ended up with four pints of beautiful, tasty, aromatic jam.

    • Dolores Monet profile imageAUTHOR

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      luv2bnktchn - in case you stop back, I have made the jam that you questioned and it turned out just great. I also added chopped orange peel!

    • Dolores Monet profile imageAUTHOR

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      luv2bnktchn - actually, I thought, looking back, that maybe I did have it wrong, but cranberries gel pretty well even without pectin. Going to make that recipe in next few days, and will report back. But I do seem to recall last year thinking the same thing as you, then deciding not to second guess myself and it turned out perfectly. Thanks for your delicious tip, though I do like mine lumpy!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Really easy to make! And tastes delicious!

      My kids are really finicky eaters so my jams have to be made more like jelly (very smooth, no lumps). So at the step where the berries have just started to pop (not quite a boil), I took them off the heat and blended everything then returned to heat and continued to boil. Added the butter. Then, brought it to a boil for at least 2 minutes and added the pectin, continued to a rolling boil for 1 minute and poured it into the hot jars. Made 6 half pints, 3 quarter pints and a small left over to taste test with toast. Yummy! Mild, sweet cranberry flavor, not at all pungent like the store bought cans. Will be perfect with dinner rolls. :)

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Read and reread the first recipe and couldn't find when to add the pectin. Maybe I'm missing it? Should there be an added step after * Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring continuously. and before * Remove from heat. So then:

      * Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring continuously

      * Stir in pectin

      * Return to head and boil again for 2 minutes.

      * Remove from heat and stir for 5 minutes.

      * Remove from heat?

      These are your directions from the 2nd recipe.

    • Dolores Monet profile imageAUTHOR

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      pearls - I have never heard of these jars that you mention so I can't really comment. You should ask the people who make the jars, call or find them online. But I imagine that you would want to use a hot water bath.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I would like to use the designer canning jars with the one-piece brass lids..they have a lure lock attachment. The lids are advertised with a sealing material. Should I still use a hot water bath for processing?

    • gr82bme profile image


      10 years ago from USA

      I was thinking on making jams this year. I decided to look on hub pages first. I found it. Thank you so much


      voted up and shared


    • Dolores Monet profile imageAUTHOR

      Dolores Monet 

      10 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Dave - me too! And this is the season for cranberries! Thank you!

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 

      10 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      My wife is going to love me when I make this, she is a cranberry fanatic.

    • Dolores Monet profile imageAUTHOR

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Carmen - I love cranberries too. Too bad you have to douse them in sugar, but, oh well. Thank you for stopping by!

    • Carmen Borthwick profile image

      Carmen Borthwick 

      11 years ago from Maple Ridge, B.C.

      Love cranberries so thanks for this! Nothing like homemade cranberry sauce with turkey, have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

    • Dolores Monet profile imageAUTHOR

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Thanks for stopping by, Zsuzsy, hope you enjoy making the cranberry googies, though I would add the orange rind if I was going to do it again.

      Jerilee, I could go cranberry crazy this time of year. Today, I made cranberry nut bread. Now I want cranberry cocktail. Thanks for leaving a comment!

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      11 years ago from United States

      These are something I'm going to have to try, not as gifts except to the ones who live in this house, sounds yummy.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      11 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks for sharing your recipe. I will make some for sure and add them to my Christmas baskets.

      kindest regards Zsuzsy

    • Dolores Monet profile imageAUTHOR

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Thanks, febriedethan, the only thing is that it is full of sugar. And it is processed food and certainly not fresh. But neither are homemade cookies which I consider almost health food because they are made at home. haha.

    • febriedethan profile image


      11 years ago from Indonesia

      I should try this, as an Asian I never been canning before, I always consume fresh foods and rarely eat canned food. But the ideas of giving some preserves homemade gifts are so great, thank you for sharing! Have a great day!

    • Dolores Monet profile imageAUTHOR

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Thank you, Smireles. Yes, the pressure cooker also broke the stove grates, cast iron. Glad I wasn't in the room at the time, but I heard it blow.

    • Smireles profile image

      Sandra Mireles 

      11 years ago from Texas

      Thank you for this recipe. I have been canning and processing foods for many years. I had to laugh at your story about the pressure cooker. I never had one blow up but I lived in fear for a long time every time I used one. Great piece!

    • Dolores Monet profile imageAUTHOR

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      alek - thanks. I used to make the stuff for gifts but I never ate it! I am rectifying that situation this year.

      Sweetie, I think if I made it again, I would put the orange peel in too. Thanks for stopping by!

      habee- I've never actually canned, where you need to use a pressure cooker. The time I blew one up and put a hole in the ceiling, and the fat was dribbling down the walls just made me lose interest in pressure cookers.

      Tatjana - you bet, plus, they are just so much fun to make. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image


      11 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      There is nothing better then homemade jams...and other homemade products... And yes, they can be nice gifts as well.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      11 years ago from Georgia

      I used to do tons of canning! This makes me want to take it up again!

    • SweetiePie profile image


      11 years ago from Southern California, USA

      It sounds lovely, and I would definitely try it!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      11 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      Nice hub, DM, I love making jams, jellies, and granola. I don't do too much canning any more, but used to do it all the time...a lot of good instruction and tips here. Good idea to put the videos about how to check to see if a lid is sealed..really important.

      The Cranberry Holiday Jam looks really good. A gift like this is so special...and tastes so much better than store bought.

    • Dolores Monet profile imageAUTHOR

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Nancy - thanks for the support! Not only are they appreciated, but making gifts, rather than shopping for them, is so much more fun!

      Nemingha - Ha. That's nice. It's great to be appreciated!

    • Nemingha profile image


      11 years ago

      After years of giving one of my very difficult-to-buy-for sisters a gift of assorted homemade jams each Christmas, I began to feel a little guilty and gave her something else instead. Boy, was she annoyed!

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 

      11 years ago

      A homemade gift, rather it is food or other craft items, is sincerely appreciated by the recipient. Homemade gifts are the best!


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