Sunday, October 12, 2008

cranberry jalapeno jam take one

It's cranberry season everyone! That means a trip to the Cranberry Festival in Ft. Langley and 2 pounds of fresh cranberries for me. I wasn't sure what to do with the fresh cranberries, but after some thought an idea came to me: I wanted to try and make a no-pectin cranberry version of the pepper jelly that I had enjoyed so much at a family gathering last year. After snooping around on the internet the closest I could find was this recipe which had pectin in it. I know that cranberries have lots of natural pectin, so I modified the recipe a bit by using less vinegar to make it easier to jel and adjusting the sugar a bit to compensate. This is what I ended up with:

No Pectin Cranberry Jalapeno Jam

1/4 lb. jalapenos
3/4 lb. fresh cranberries (you could probably use frozen too)
4 1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice

5 8-ounce jam jars, sterilized

In a food processor grind the peppers and berries (I used my mini food prep, although it took several batches). Then put them in a large pot with all other ingredients. Heat to a boil, cook for 20 minutes or until it looks like it's ready to set.

Ladle into jelly jars, leaving 1/4 inch clearance. Water bath process 10 minutes.

Store in cupboard for two weeks, then serve.

Over cream cheese with crackers, bagels, toast, English muffins, etc.
With pork loin, roast beef, chicken, lamb, and strong flavored fish.
As a veggie dip.


This jam is a beautiful vibrant red color that I just love. I tasted this jam straight out of the pot and it tasted a very sweet to me, and because of the strength of the sugar and vinegar I couldn't detect any cranberry at all. This might change in two weeks. Also since the jars aren't cool I'm not 100 percent sure if it will actually set up or not.

I tried some with a bit of cream cheese on a cracker and it was great. I think it would also be good in grilled cheese sandwiches, or on a ham and cheese, or as a condiment to meat. Next time to emphasize the cranberry flavor more I might try cutting down the vinegar to 1/2 cup and use only 2-3 cups of sugar.

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