I love to cook for my family for the holidays, and I think Thanksgiving might be our favorite of them all. We keep it casual and low key, aside of preparing for the feast. I minimize the holiday frenzy by preparing some things in advance. I enhanced this traditional cranberry jam (or sauce) with the sweetness of a local Satsuma (you may also use an orange) and a taste of maple syrup, a nod to my New England upbringing.
This cranberry jam is simple and delicious. Make it now and freeze it, and it is one less goody to worry about during Thanksgiving week. Once you have a few jars in the freezer, you may find yourself reaching for it for more than the Thanksgiving turkey. Cranberry jam is overlooked as an everyday condiment. In addition to the Thanksgiving turkey, it is wonderful with roasted chicken and pork, as well as game. Spread cranberry jam on sandwiches or serve it on a cheese board. It is tasty over cream cheese with crackers.
Cranberry Freezer Jam
4 cups cranberries (about 1 ½ pounds)
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Satsuma tangerine or orange
2 Tablespoons Triple Sec or Gran Marnier (optional)
In a large saucepan, combine cranberries, water, sugar, and maple syrup and set over medium heat. Zest Satsuma or orange into saucepan. Cut the Satsuma in half and juice it, adding the juice to the pot. Cook mixture for about 20 minutes, until cranberries begin to pop and jam thickens. Add the Triple Sec. Taste for sweetness, and add more sugar or maple syrup, to your taste. Cook a few more minutes, until desired consistency is reached. Let them the jam cool, and fill half pint freezer jars, leaving a half-inch head space. Freeze until ready to use. Makes about 2 pints.
PS: For those that prefer to can rather than freeze, this jam can be processed for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath in 1/2 pint jars with a 1/2 inch of headspace. Follow your jar manufacturer’s instructions to get a proper seal.