Cranberry Blood Orange Jam
Tart, bright, and full of holiday flavor this cranberry jam is infused with the flavors of blood orange and rosemary. It is the perfect addition to any holiday spread and dreamy as a filling for cookies.
I didn’t grow up eating cranberries. My parents weren’t big fans which resulted in me never really being around them. I remember one year my dad wanted a traditional thanksgiving dinner spread. My mother, who is not familiar with cooking American cuisine, went out and bought canned…everything. Cranberry sauce included. Needless to say it wasn’t the worst thanksgiving dinner but it sure didn’t have us clamoring to buy canned cranberry sauce anytime soon.
It wasn’t until my late teenage years that I saw fresh cranberries on the store shelf. You could buy fresh cranberries?? My mind was blown. Even though I don’t prepare a traditional feast every thanksgiving ( a tradition I continue to carry on from my mother is preparing or enjoying another type of cultures cuisine or going to the coast for fresh seafood) I do find myself always buying cranberries to make some sort of jammy dessert. Usually, I will make cookies, but I have also layered this jam in the bottom of a buttermilk pie several years in a row.
I may have not grown-up eating cranberries, but I have learned to love them enough to add them to the cart every holiday season and turn them into beautiful jam.
An aromatic jam that can be used to add a bright pop of flavor to anything you add it to. Cranberry blood orange jam is great added to a variety of different dishes:
-poured over cream cheese with crackers
-blended with fresh chevre for a creamy dip
-paired with grilled, roasted, smoked pork or turkey
-slathered on top of buttermilk biscuits or English muffins.
-added to melted butter to make a glazing sauce for baked chicken
-COOKIES. My favorite way to use this jam is stuffed into cranberry orange cookies or sandwiched between layers of almond shortbread.
Why I Love This Recipe
Flavor-Cranberries are spectacularly tart and their bright flavor pairs well with blood orange, rosemary, and cinnamon. The jam is sweet but has an acidic punch to make your mouth water and pucker as it coats your taste buds. It is just bright enough to keep the sweetness balanced from the sugar added to the jam. The flavor of blood orange is sweet, floral, and slightly bitter like grapefruit which helps play into the tartness of the cranberries. I prefer to blend this jam after it has been strained and cooled down. Blending it will not only smooth the jam out to a velvety texture, but it also aerates the jam and continues to brighten the orange and cranberry flavors within.
Texture-The texture of the jam is divine. There are three different ways to enjoy this jam depending on your preference. The jam can be left chunky with the texture of the cranberry skins and seeds left in. It can be strained of the seeds after cooking for a very thick almost applesauce texture. And if you want to take it one step further, blending it will transform it into a thick velvety sauce.
Easy-Cranberries are very high in pectin and jam beautifully in this recipe. It’s as easy as pouring everything into a saucepot and letting it cook down for 15 minutes. The flavoring additions are optional as well, rosemary and cinnamon are great compliments to cranberries but can omitted or substituted with other flavors like apple, vanilla, or sage.
Ingredients You Need
-Cranberries- I use a full 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries.
-Granulated Sugar-you can substitute brown sugar if you want a deeper flavor and darker color. I prefer using granulated sugar since it helps the bright red color pop.
-Blood Orange-I used a medium blood orange for this recipe. All the zest and juice will be added to the cranberries.
-Rosemary-one fresh sprig of rosemary.
-Cinnamon Stick-one small stick of cinnamon. This will warm up the jam and add to the festive flavor.
-Water-you will only use extra water if your orange doesn’t have enough to juice to measure out 2/3 cup. A little splash of water might be needed as well if the jam is too thick when blending.
This jam is so easy to make and will be done in about 20 minutes. I made this on a Sunday morning and had fresh jam to slather on homemade biscuits for Sunday breakfast. Yum.
I started by grabbing a medium saucepan and measuring out the sugar to add to the pan. I washed my cranberries real quick and tossed them in the pan as well.
Using a microplane I zested the entire blood orange into the pot with the sugar and cranberries. I sliced the orange in half and juiced it into a measuring cup. My blood orange was on the smaller side so it didn’t quite have enough juice. I made up the difference in liquid by adding additional water so the total amount of liquid was 2/3 cup. You can also use additional orange juice if you have any on hand.
I added the orange juice and stirred to combine adding in the cinnamon stick and rosemary sprig to the pan. I cooked the cranberries on medium heat for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
The cranberries will pop and burst while cookie so stir carefully and turn the stove to medium low if it gets to be too much.
While the jam is cooking, I prepare a bowl and a mesh strainer to remove the cranberry seeds and skins from the jam.
I cook the cranberries until all the cranberries have popped and the mixture is very thick. While the mixture is still hot, I carefully pour the jam into the mesh strainer that is over a bowl.
I use the back of a spatula to work the jam through the mesh strainer until all that is left in the strainer are seeds and skins.
The jam will cool for around 5-10 minutes before I place it in a blender. I blend the jam on high for 30 seconds. The color will be a deep red then transform into a vibrant fuchsia red by the time it is done blending.
I place the jam into 2 four-ounce jars with the lids and store in the fridge. The jam will last in the fridge for up to a month.
This jam is great on many breads, rolls, muffins, a great side dish for Thanksgiving, but my favorite is added to cookies.
A Cranberry Streusel Cookie recipe will be available this Thursday, stay tuned!
If you try this recipe and love it as much as I do, please tag, follow, and like @sunshinetxcookies on Instagram and Facebook. New posts every Thursday so be sure to follow me for more delicious cookie recipes.
Cranberry Blood Orange Jam
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 blood orange zest and juice
- ¼-½ cup water
- sprig of fresh rosemary optional
- cinnamon stick optional
- In a medium saucepan combine cranberries, sugar, rosemary, cinnamon stick, and orange zest.
- Juice the blood orange into a measuring cup. Add additional water to yield 2/3 cup of liquid total. If your orange was juicy and juiced 2/3 cup, you can skip this step. Add to the saucepan.
- Bring the cranberries to a simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally while cooking.
- The cranberries will burst while cooking, please use caution when stirring. Continue to stir while cooking the jam will reduce and get thick. The jam is done when it is thick, deep red, and all of the cranberries have burst. Discard the rosemary stem and cinnamon stick if using.
- Strain the cranberry mixture by pressing through a mesh strainer. Use the back of a runner spatula to press as much of the jam through.
- You can leave the jam like this, it will look similar to thick applesauce, or you can smooth it out by blending.
- Place the cooled cranberry jam into a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. If the jam is getting too thick to blend you can add a tiny splash of water to loosen.
- Place in jars and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.