My Family Tradition: Cranberry Jam

Every family has their traditions. For some it is volunteering with a specific charity, or donating to those who have less. Others will attend church service or spend time with family. For my family, it is the tradition of jam making to give out to friends and family. This is a recipe that is hunted down by friends and family and everyone wants another jar that is way bigger after finishing their first jar. This Thanksgiving, my family bestowed me with the family cranberry jam recipe. I even helped make this year’s 5 batches so this year I can truly say that I helped.

I think why this gift is so popular because there is something nostalgic, and homey about a homemade gift. Plus, who doesn’t love food. Especially a food gift that works for almost all diets out there.  I use this cranberry jam on my cheese and crackers or with my pork chops as a sauce/side. This jam has even graced our Thanksgiving table since the probably the dawn of time. I love the sweet and tart notes that contrast with sweet and savory notes in many meals.

Every year I see more people trying to find DIY gifts to give their loved ones especially with the big DIY movement that has taken over since the birth of Pinterest.  However, I find that most DIY ideas and instructions are super complex or require something too specific that isn’t easily found. I also run into the issue that I can’t do them because I live in a very small apartment but cooking I can do. As long as you have a kitchen then you can give food and have the most perfect DIY present. Plus I like food better than a painting.

Now for the recipe and instructions of the family cranberry jam recipe.


Family Cranberry Jam Recipe or Cranberries in St. Clement Cabernet Recipe


1 package of fresh cranberries (12 oz)

1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)

1 ¼ cups of sugar

1 piece of Orange Zest (7 inches)

1 cup of a cabernet (can be a box wine as long as it is decent quality)



  1. Sterilize glass jar, and lids with boiling water for about 10 minutes. If broken or rusted over, discard. Only touch the outside of the jars after sterilization to keep bacteria away from the contents that you will place in the jars later.
  2. Keep boiling water on stove for quick sterilization if lid falls on floor or for jars if fingers touch inside of jars. This an important tip to keep bacteria away and the jam can be preserved longer.
  3. Pick over cranberries removing stems and shriveled or soft berries. Rinse under cold water and drain.
  4. Combine sugar wine in non-corrodible heavy medium saucepan. Stir over medium heat to boiling.IMG_6898
  5. Add cranberries, cinnamon stick and orange zest. Increase heat to high, stirring until mixture returns to a boil.IMG_6902
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer Partially covered 10 to 15 minutes until berries burst.IMG_6905
  7. Remove from heat. Sauce should be runny. Remove and discard cinnamon stick.
  8. Lift out orange zest and let cool slightly. Cut zest crosswise with sharp thin-bladed knife. Then add to cranberry mixture.
  9. Cool to room temperature. Spoon into jars with tight lids. (Tip: use a funnel if you need help filling the jars neatly) Fill until ½ in away from the top. Take paper towel and dip into hot water to clean up spills on edge so bacteria can’t enterIMG_6909.JPGIMG_6913.JPGIMG_6914
  10. Screw on lids and place boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Remove and set aside to let cool. Wait until the jar pings and center doesn’t bounce back.
  11. Remove rim and dry off then place rim back on so lid doesn’t rust.

Now don’t forget to enjoy this jam this season! Like always, don’t forget to leave a comment about your thoughts on the family recipe or your experiences with DIY holiday gifts.

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