Christmas Jam

Christmas Jam in jars

Photo by Nancy O’Neal

Christmas Jam is a low-sugar cooked jam made with Pomona’s Pectin. Pomona’s Pectin contains no sugar or preservatives and jells reliably with low amounts of any sweetener. See below for where to buy.
This recipe, originally an Amish recipe, was adapted from one sent to us by Nancy O’Neal of Bedford, Virginia. The original recipe used liquid pectin and a large amount of sugar. Nancy wanted to use Pomona’s and less sugar. Connie adapted it for her.

After making the jam with Pomona’s, Nancy said: “My sneak taste was wonderful! Used two cups of sugar! Makes a great jam for toast as well as a topping for cheesecake or cream cheese and crackers.”

Yield: 4-5 cups

Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Christmas Jam Ingredients

3 cups whole cranberries
1 orange, peeled, seeded, and sections separated
2 teaspoons grated orange zest, from the above orange
2 cups frozen, slightly thawed, sliced strawberries
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons calcium water
2 cups sugar, divided
2 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder

Christmas Jam Directions

1. Wash jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and keep jars in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan; cover and heat to a low boil. Turn off heat and keep lids in hot water until ready to use.

2. Rinse cranberries and combine cranberries and orange sections in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.

3. Add strawberries, orange zest, cloves, and cinnamon. Process until finely chopped, but not pureed.

4. Put processed fruit mixture into sauce pan.

5. Cook mixture for 2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly.

6. Add calcium water, and mix well.

7. Measure 1 cup sugar into a bowl. Thoroughly mix pectin powder into sugar. Set aside.

8. Bring fruit mixture to a full boil. Add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin.

9. Add remaining 1 cup sugar once pectin is dissolved. Stir well and return to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat. Skim off any foam.

10. Fill hot jars to ¼” of top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-piece lids. Put filled jars in boiling water to cover. Boil 10 minutes (add 1 minute more for every 1,000 ft. above sea level). Remove from water. Let jars cool. Check seals; lids should be sucked down. Eat within 1 year. Lasts 3 weeks once opened.

For more inspiring recipe ideas, see Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin: The Revolutionary Low-Sugar, High-Flavor Method for Crafting and Canning Jams, Jellies, Conserves, and More by Allison Carroll Duffy and the Pomona’s Partners, published by Fair Winds Press, June 2013, and available in paper or ebook everywhere books are sold.

Pomona’s Pectin is available at your local natural food store, food co-op, and many farm stands. Find it also at Sur La Table and a growing number of more conventional grocery stores with natural food sections (Wegmans, Hy-Vee, Rosauers, Nugget Markets, Coborns, Fairway, and others). If you can’t find a store near you on our store locator, you can order from our website or many other online sellers.

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31 thoughts on “Christmas Jam

  1. On my never ending search for sweetener substitutes & wondering if you have ever used erythritol with your jam recipes?
    Powdered & granular both measure about the same as cane sugar.
    Thank you
    Ps – have tried stevia. I k & made the jam Cloudy & had to throw away. Do not want the carbs in honey right now

  2. This jam is amazing! I actually switched the quantity a bit and used 3 cups strawberries and 2 cups cranberries. Added a bit more cinnamon too. My son said it tastes like Christmas! Thank you!

    • Thank you Suzanne for your comment. I ended up doing the exact same thing, switching the strawberry and cranberry ratios and cut back the sugar to 1.5 C since the ratio favored the sweeter strawberries. This is delectable! I ended up using 1.5 oranges because my orange looked small. Even with that, I ended up with just over 4 cups of jam. I added almost double the cinnamon, but left the cloves as is because cloves can be strong.

      I have to make another batch because after tasting this, I have lots more people I want to gift this to.

  3. Is it possible to substitute organic cane sugar for regular sugar? And if so it it the same measurement? Also can fresh strawberries be used instead?

    • Hello Megan,

      Yes, absolutely! If the granules are larger, you may wish to put it through the food process for a couple pulses to make them smaller, and more easily mixed with the pectin, to avoid clumping.

      Fresh strawberries can definitely be substituted.

      Happy jamming!

  4. I have used this all summer to make preserves ( blueberry, strawberry, peach and black and blue berry). This is so easy and I love the low sugar content. It really brings out the flavor in the fruit. I would like to get a head start on making my jam for Christmas gifts. Could I use frozen cranberries?


    • Hello Joann,

      Our directions call for 1/2 teaspoon of calcium powder to 1/2 cup of water…and if there has been no contamination, it can last up to 6 months in the refrigerator. You can also freeze your made-up calcium water and thaw it when you are ready to use it.
      If you calcium water appears to have any off color, and/or any odor, please throw it out.

      Happy jamming!

  5. Hello,

    I’m a tad bit confused with one of the measurements for this recipe. It calls for 2 cups frozen, slightly thawed, sliced strawberries. My question is….. Is this 2 cups of strawberries that are then sliced, or are your strawberries already pre-sliced? (This obviously makes a difference as 2 cups of whole berries are less than 2 cups sliced berries)


    • Hello Stephanie,

      Thanks so much for reaching out to us- great question! You will need 2 cups of sliced strawberries for our Christmas Jam recipe.

      Happy jamming!

    • Hello Jessica,

      Unfortunately not. Each pectin brand is very different. Our is especially unique in that it can be made without any sugar and is activated by calcium instead of mass amounts of sugar.

      Happy jamming!

    • Hi Anna Marie,
      Pomona’s Pectin is activated by calcium rather than by sugar, which is why it can jell fruit with low amounts of any sweetener. Each purchase of Pomona’s Pectin comes with a packet of pectin and a packet of calcium powder and a direction and recipe sheet that tells you how to make calcium water with the calcium powder.

      Lots more info about Pomona’s on the FAQ page of our website.

      Thanks for your interest in Pomona’s — Happy Holidays & Happy Jamming!

    • Hi Cherie,
      Generally we recommend 1/2 pint (8 oz or 1 cup) jars for low-sugar jams and jellies. The 1/4 pint (4 oz) are a good size also if you’re making the jam for gifts.

      You can use 1 pint (2 cup) jars also but it’s important to remember that a jar of low-sugar jam or jelly will last only about 3 weeks in the refrigerator once opened. So unless you and your family can eat 2 cups of jam in 3 weeks, it’s better to use the smaller jars.

      The processing time for all three jar sizes of jam or jelly is the same.

      Thanks for using Pomona’s Pectin — Happy Jamming & Happy Holidays!

  6. Just wanted you to know that I only had time to make 1 batch of the Christmas Jam before Christmas, and I loved it!!!!! For Christmas dinner, I served it over Cheesecake and it was perfect!!! The color was great and the tangy-ness was perfect too. I absolutely love this stuff!!! Wish I had made more of it—or started earlier—so I could have given it to everyone on my list. Next year I will start early to make sure I have plenty to share at Christmas.

    Happy New Year to you!!!

    P.S. I doubled the amount of spices in the jam. I didn’t think that ¼ tsp. was going to be enough. I am happy with it at ½ tsp. You get a little more of a spicy flavor, which I liked with that Cranberry flavor.

    • Dear Sharon,
      Haven’t made this with honey ourselves, but it should work with the recipe.

      Substitute 1 cup of honey for the 2 cups of sugar. Stir the pectin powder into 1/2 cup of honey, then add the remaining 1/2 cup once the pectin is dissolved.

      Alternatively you could taste the jam after adding the 1/2 cup honey-pectin mixture and dissolving the pectin. Then add any additional honey to your taste.

      If you do make it with honey, would love to hear how much honey you used and how it turns out.

      Thanks for using Pomona’s Pectin — and happy jamming!

      If anyone else out there has made Christmas Jam with honey, would love to hear from you too.

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