One week till the Jolly Old Elf takes to the skies! Still so much merry-making to be had though and a few gifts left to buy but all in all, I'm in pretty good shape, Christmas-wise! I've had time to make two batches of this jam...and one batch makes a dozen half-pints but it wasn't enough, nope, I needed that extra dozen just for me because this is dang-good jam. Sweet strawberries combined with tart cranberries...a love match sprinkled with orange zest that is sure to make all of your sugarplums happy on Christmas morning and every morning!
For my birthday this year I made my first batch of this jam...darn near ate a full jar, one spoonful at a time, because it was my birthday and I was gettin' my jam on! That made me laugh, what can I say, I'm a simple-minded-mountain girl. Yes friends, another birthday and this year I planned a party for myself and had the best time - it all started with a rather large gingerbread house...
This took three different roofs before I could get it to stick. The first one slid off and hit the floor. The second roof collapsed into the house, THEN set...so when I tried to remove the pieces, they broke. Number three was the charm and with the help of a few books and tons of royal icing, I finally got the thing to hold! I piped on a few details and then waited for my elves to show up to decorate it with me.
This was my idea of fun! Four little happy people who laughed and glued candy to the gingerbread house until they had created a masterpiece! Kids and Christmas go together and since my grandkids couldn't be here to help me celebrate, I had to borrow some! (Thanks Jason and Jennefer!) I wish I had thought to take a video of them putting on the candy, for every piece that was glued to the house, three went into their mouths! Not to worry, by the time they hit sugar over-load, right before the bouncing-off-the-wall stage, I had returned them safely back to their home!!
Now, about this jam...it's SO easy. Fruit and sugar gets dumped into the pot then brought to the boil. After one minute of boiling, the liquid pectin is stirred in and it's done. That's it. Dump and stir. You can fill your jars (liquid pectin doesn't need to be boiled, it will set the jam as it cools) and keep in refrigerator once cooled, or you can process them in a water bath to keep longer, either way, it won't last too long because it really is like tasting Christmas...put it on your toast, your biscuits, your muffins...spoon it over ice cream or use it between the layers of a cake...dang good my friends! As in five dangs on the Ol' Dang Meter!
Millions of people order jam online for Christmas gifts...but in about an hour you could have a dozen jar of this delicious jam ready to give as gifts - and whoever you give them to will love you forever, or at least until the jam jar is empty!
Christmas Jam - Adapted From A Family Feast
2 packages (20 oz. each) frozen whole strawberries (fresh strawberries may be substituted)
1 lb. fresh or frozen cranberries
5 pounds sugar
zest from 2 large oranges
2 pouches (3 oz. each) liquid fruit pectin (like Certo)
Put frozen strawberries and cranberries in large pot on top of stove over medium-high heat and pour sugar over fruit. Mix with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves, stirring (mixture will be very thick). Once the frozen strawberries have thawed and the cranberries begin to pop, use a potato-masher to crush the fruit to the desired consistency (I liked leaving some cranberries and strawberries whole or in large pieces, made the jam prettier/tastier!) Stir in the orange zest, bring mixture to the boil and then boil for one full minute. Remove the pot from the heat and add the pectin, stirring to mix completely. (Liquid pectin does not set immediately, jam will set as it cools so don't be alarmed at the runny texture.) Allow the jam to cool for 5 minutes, then skim off any foam on top. Ladle the hot jam mixture into sterile half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims clean, cover with hot lids and screw on the jar bands. Process the jars for 10 minutes in a water bath. Remove from water bath and allow to sit on counter until jars come to room temperature and jam has set. If not processing, allow jars to sit on counter to cool and jam to set, then keep in refrigerator for three weeks. Makes 12 to 14 jars of jam. If you don't want 12 to 14 jars of jam, you can cut the recipe in half, but trust me, you'll want them all! Merry Christmas!