If you have an hour and fifteen minutes, you can make at least five pint-sized holiday gifts.
“Really, Stacey? Tell me how!”
All right, if you insist.
The inspiration for this post came, as usual, from a pile of food in the fridge that was rapidly falling into the use-it-or-lose-it category. This time, it was fresh cranberries I bought because it was Thanksgiving, and it’s a law or something to buy cranberries for Thanksgiving.
But I knew that I didn’t want to make cranberry sauce. I wanted something more versatile like…like…jam! Marisa at Food in Jars is always an inspiration. I subtly tweaked her Apple-Cranberry Jam recipe, and made it twice, two different ways and with different proportions. And it’s hard to mess this up since there’s so much pectin in the fruit already that you don’t need to add more to make the jam! Here’s the scaled-down version.
Makes 5 or 6 pint-sized jars
4 to 5 cups peeled, diced apples (Macintosh or Golden Delicious)
2 cups fresh cranberries
3 cups sugar
½ cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Zest of an orange
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or the seeds from one vanilla bean)
Prep your pint jars and lids in the boiling water bath and keep them in the warm water until you’re ready to fill.
In another large pot, boil the apples, cranberries, sugar and water until softened. I like to use a potato masher to combine the soft fruit. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla. Cook until the fruit mixture thickens. Carefully add the jam to the prepared jars, wipe the rims, put the lids on and add rings until “fingertip tight.” Process for 10 minutes in the boiling water bath.
(Need more info about canning jam? Use this comprehensive guide from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.)
Let the jars cool and test the seal by removing the ring and lifting the jar by the lid. If the lid comes off the jar, process again or store in the refrigerator. Shelf stable for one year or good in the fridge for a month or so.
Add a label, tie a ribbon on it and gift away!
What’s your go-to last-minute food gift?