The Best Homemade Spiced Christmas Jam | Canning Tutorial

This tutorial will teach you how to make the best homemade spiced Christmas jam. This jam is a delightful blend of strawberries, cranberries, and festive holiday spices.

This is hands down our favorite jam, and such an easy Christmas jam to make. It’s the first to empty from our pantry shelves! It also makes great gifts, pair it with some homemade bread and you’ll be the favorite neighbor!

Three jars of Spiced Christmas Jam, one stack on two with biscuits in the background, one with jam spread on it. Strawberries, cranberries, and cinnamon spread throughout the picture.

Why we Love Canning Homemade Spiced Christmas Jam to Stock on our Pantry Shelves:

  • It’s a nostalgic tradition we want to pass down to future generations.
  • Canned Christmas jam makes a great homemade thoughtful gift during the holiday season.
  • We can bottle up some Christmas yummy-ness to enjoy any time of the year!

What Will I Need to Complete this Canned Homemade Spiced Christmas Jam recipe?

A picture of ingredients in bowls needed to complete Christmas jam recipe. Granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, strawberries, and cranberries. Liquid pectin sitting next to them.

You will need the following ingredients:

  • Granulated sugar
  • Strawberries (fresh or frozen): If using frozen, it will be easier to puree them if you let them that a little first. If using fresh strawberries, be sure to pick the best ripe ones.
  • Cranberries (fresh or frozen): Again, let them thaw a little.
  • Liquid fruit pectin: I use Certo
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, ground allspice
  • The zest of one orange (optional)

You will need the following supplies:

  • Water bath canner or a large pot with a lid
  • Canning rack for bottom of canner. If you purchased a water bath canner it should have come with a rack.
  • 7 half-pint jars
  • Canning lids and rings
  • Jar lifter, and jar magnet
  • Large heavy bottom stainless steal pot for cooking the jam.
  • Stirring Utensils
  • Ladle
  • Wide mouth canning funnel
  • Clean damp paper towel for wiping down rims and threads of jars
  • Clean kitchen towel
  • Measuring tools
  • Food scale
  • Immersion blender or potato masher (optional)
Picture of finished jam on a wooden spoon above the jam jar.

Before you get started:

Prepare your jars:

  • Wash rings, lids in hot soapy water.
  • Wash jars in hot soapy water or on a hot cycle in the dishwasher. According to the NHCFP “Jars do not need to be sterilized before canning if they will be filled with food and processed in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes or more or if they will be processed in a pressure canner.”
  • Jars will need to be hot when pouring hot jam in them, after I wash my jars I clean the sink, and fill it with hot water and leave them there until I’m ready to fill them with jam.

Prepare your space:

  • Fill canner 2/3 full with water, add to stove burner, and turn on medium-high heat. Add a canning rack, hook handles to the side of the canner so you can add jars before lowering the full rack into water for processing.
  • Gather your lids and rings (do they need to be softened? Check the box the lids came in when purchased for instructions. Some require softening in simmering water for a few minutes, others don’t)
  • Make sure you have all the ingredients and tools you need. (See supply and ingredient list above)
  • Clean your work surfaces well.

Canning Homemade Spiced Christmas Jam

STEP ONE

Prepare the fruit: Wash and inspect fresh fruit. If using fresh strawberries, wash and cut off green tops, if using fresh cranberries wash and take out any spoiled fruit and stems and debris. Measure out fruit with a food scale for accuracy, measured with measuring cups the strawberries gave me just under 6 cups, and the cranberries were a heaping 2 cups.

Puree the fruit in a blender or food processor, you may need to work in batches. If using frozen fruit, it will puree easier if thawed a bit before pureeing.

A before an after picture of fruit in bender and then blended.

STEP TWO

Add pureed fruit mixture, spices, and sugar to a large pot, and heat on medium-high heat stirring frequently. If you find that there are still chunks in the fruit and want it smoother, you can use an immersion blender to blend up the chunks as mixture is heating up. Make sure to keep the blender on the bottom of pot so you don’t splatter yourself with hot liquid. If you don’t mind the chunks you can leave them.

Bring the fruit and sugar mixture to a full rolling boil on medium-high heat, stirring continuously to prevent burning. Jam is at a full rolling boil when it continues to boil even when stirring. Once you’ve reached a full boil, boil for one minute, stirring continually.

Remove from heat, add in liquid pectin, and stir well. Add pot back to heat and bring jam mixture back to a full rolling boil, stirring continually. Once the mixture has reached a full rolling boil, time for 1 minute, stirring to prevent burning.

A before and after picture of all the jam ingredients in the pot prior to cooking and after cooking.

STEP THREE

Turn off the heat, scrape off any foam with a large spoon, and ladle the hot mixture into 1-2 jars at a time, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe down the jar’s threads and rims with a clean, damp paper towel to make sure no jam is stuck on there. Add lids and rings, tightening rings just finger tight, and add to canning rack. Repeat until canning rack is full, lower rack into water.

STEP FOUR

Put the lid on the water bath canner and bring it to a boil, once water is at a full boil (doesn’t stop boiling when you take the lid off) start the timer and process for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. (See adjustments below)

Once the time is up, remove the canner’s lid, turn off the heat, and let the jars sit in the canner for 5 minutes. This allows the jam to settle and helps prevent siphoning.

After the five minutes is done, place a clean kitchen towel on the counter. Jars will be hot, use a jar lifter to lift jars out onto the counter to cool. Leave about a 1-inch space between the jars for proper air circulation and cooling. Let jars sit unbothered for 12-24 hours.

STEP FIVE

After the jars have cooled for 12-24 hours, then remove the rings and wipe down the jars with a damp cloth making sure to clean off any jam or debris. Once they’ve dried, you are now ready to label the jars with the name of the contents and the date canned

How to store jam:

Once the jars are wiped down and cleaned, then store them on a shelf in a cool, dark place. Exposure to heat and sunlight will break down the quality of food faster, proper storage will result in a longer shelf-life.

Picture of a jar of fruit with jam spilling over the edge. Wooden spoon with jelly on it sitting next to jar. Biscuit with jam on it in the background.

FAQs

Can I use powdered pectin instead of liquid pectin? Liquid and powdered pectin are not interchangeable ounce for ounce. I have not experimented with adjusting ratios to use powdered pectin instead of liquid pectin.

How long is the jam shelf-stable? This Christmas jam is good for up to one year on your shelf. Most canning lid manufacturers guarantee their seals for one year. However, if there are no signs of spoilage and a good seal is still present, it can last longer. The nutritional value just goes down over time. Use and rotate your food to avoid spoilage and food waste.

Can I leave out or add any spices? Yes, you can adjust or add any spices, but it won’t affect the overall canning process.

Can I freeze cranberries for later use in jam? Yes, you absolutely can freeze cranberries to use later. Stock up on fresh cranberries while they are in season, and store them in your freezer. I throw the whole bag in the freezer.

Is 1/4-inch headspace really that important? “Yes, leaving the specified amount of headspace in a jar is important to ensure a vacuum seal. If too little headspace is allowed, the food may expand and bubble out when air is forced out from under the lid during processing. The bubbling food may leave a deposit on the rim of the jar or the lid’s seal and prevent the jar from sealing properly. If too much headspace is allowed, the top food will likely discolor. Also, the jar may not seal properly because there will not be enough processing time to drive all the air out of the jar.” (Source)

Can I reuse previously used canning lids? No, canning lids are intended for one-time use only. New lids are required for each canning to ensure a proper seal and safe, shelf-stable food. However, you can save canning lids for everyday use and vacuuming and sealing food in jars.

Why is it advised to wait 5 minutes before taking out the jars from the canner? This waiting period is essential as it allows the contents of the jars to settle, reducing the risk of siphoning. It’s a small step that can make a big difference in the quality of your canned goods.

The Best Spiced Christmas Jam | Recipe and Tutorial

Spiced Christmas Jam is a blend of strawberries, cranberries and cozy spices.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Serving Size 7 half-pint jars

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries
  • 1/2 pound crannberries
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 (3-ounce) package of liquid pectin

Instructions

  • Prepare the fruit: Wash and inspect fresh fruit. If using fresh strawberries, wash and cut off green tops; if using fresh cranberries, wash and remove any spoiled fruit, stems, and debris. Measure out fruit with a food scale for accuracy. Measure it with measuring cups. The strawberries gave me just under 6 cups; the cranberries were a heaping two cups.
  • Puree the fruit in a blender or food processor, you may need to work in batches. If using frozen fruit, it will puree easier if thawed a bit before pureeing.
  • Add pureed fruit mixture, spices, and sugar to a large pot, and heat on medium-high heat, stirring frequently. If you find that there are still chunks in the fruit and want it smoother, you can use an immersion blender to blend the chunks as the mixture is heating up. Keep the blender on the bottom of the pot so you don’t splatter yourself with hot liquid. If you don’t mind the chunks, you can leave them. Bring the fruit and sugar mixture to a full rolling boil on medium-high heat, stirring continuously to prevent burning. Jam is at a full rolling boil when it continues to boil, even when stirring. Once you’ve reached a full boil, boil for one minute, stirring continually.
    Remove from heat, add liquid pectin, and stir well. Return the pot to heat and bring the jam mixture back to a full rolling boil, stirring continually. Once the mixture has reached a full rolling boil, cook for 1 minute, stirring to prevent burning.
  • Turn off the heat, scrape off any foam with a large spoon, and ladle hot mixture into 1-2 jars at a time, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe down the jar's threads and rims with a clean, damp paper towel to make sure no jam is stuck on the jar. Add lids and rings, tightening rings just finger tight, and add to canning rack. Repeat until canning the canning rack is full; lower the water.
  • Put the lid on the water bath canner and bring it to a boil, once water is at a full boil (doesn’t stop boiling when you take the lid off) start the timer and process for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. (See chart below)
    Once the time is up, remove the canner’s lid, turn off the heat, and let the jars sit in the canner for 5 minutes. This allows the jam to settle and helps prevent siphoning.
    When the five minutes is up, place a clean kitchen towel on the counter, and use a jar lifter to lift jars out onto the counter to cool. Leave about a 1-inch space between the jars to allow for proper air circulation and cooling. Let jars sit unbothered for 12-24 hours.
  • Once jars have cooled for 12-24 hours, remove rings and wipe down jars with a damp cloth. You don’t want any residual food on the jars to sit on the shelf and start to mold. After they’ve dried, you are ready to label the jars with the name of the contents and the date canned!

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