Winter Jam

Summer has always been jam season for me. A big boiling water bath canner, a hot kitchen, delightful summer fruits turning into jewel-like preserves to spread a little sunshine during the winter. But then I came across a recipe for Pear Cranberry Jam on the Food in Jars blog. Winter jam? Yes!

Not being one to leave well enough alone, I decided my jam needed some add-ins. This time, it’s cinnamon and bourbon. It turned out great.


What? Your bourbon doesn’t wear a sweater? My son gave me this sweater for my Maker’s Mark bottle last year. See, this *is* a knitting blog!

Cranberry/Pear/Bourbon Jam

4 cups cored and chopped pears (I left the skins on)
4 cups fresh cranberries
3 cups sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced and zested
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/4 cup bourbon

Combine chopped pears, cranberries, sugar cinnamon, lemon juice and zest, and water in a large pot. Stir to combine and let it rest until the sugar has begun to dissolve, about 10 minutes.

Place the pot over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat simmer for 15-25 minutes or longer, stirring regularly, until it thickens. Add bourbon, and continue cooking until jam coats spoon without running off.

Ladle jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes 5 half pints. (If you need more thorough instructions for processing, go to Food in Jars! I’m assuming that you know how to jam.)

This is delicious. The bourbon is subtle, but there, for a little winter warmth. If I do this again, I’ll add 1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger, too, for a little kick. (I put too much ginger in last summer’s plum jam, so I’d be conservative this time.) I actually doubled the recipe, so the pot was really full, and it took quite a while to cook down to a nice jammy consistency (probably about 40 minutes?), but when it started to coat the spoon nicely, I decided it was done. This was also the first time I’d made jam without using added pectin, and I liked the process. It took longer, but I could better see how the jam is going to set up.

The best part of this jam session? Vickie invited me to cook at her house, so she made rugelach cookies while I made jam, and then we had some time to knit and catch up, too. Her cat Olive was very helpful.


Good things come in jars! I came home from the gym this morning, and Tammy had dropped off some goodies for me. I was overrun by gifts of citrus fruit last winter, and offered some to her because she wanted to make marmalade and citruscello. A perfect trade.


Back to knitting…Don’t forget, the Silver and Gold Filigree KAL kicks off properly on Friday at Twisted, or right now on the blog and Ravelry. Come knit with me! When we’re done, I’ll have a random drawing for a skein of fingering weight yarn as a prize. Finish a Filigree or Webfoot scarf by December 25, and you’ll be in the drawing.

What’s cooking at your house?

14 responses to “Winter Jam

  1. Time with friends, good food AND knitting!! Well, there ain’t nothin’ better than that, (except maybe Olive!)

  2. Oh man! I could get into winter jam making. We have several bags of frozen cranberries and pears are still around. I also have a bottle of Maker’s Mark in the cabinet. Oh yummy yum!

  3. A cooking-knitting day sounds like so much fun!

  4. This sounds like one to try! I followed you home from Food in Jars because you commented on my idea of adding port and cloves to this recipe. I had to visit when i saw your name because I’m a knitter, too, and I live in the other Portland (hello from PWM) — so it really seemed like I should stop by your site. I’m off to look at your patterns….

    • Thanks for stopping by! So fun to meet people via blog, and it’s nice to know there are jamming knitters in the other Portland, too.

      Have you tried the port and cloves yet? I doubled the recipe, so I don’t think I need more this season, but I definitely want to do the ginger next year. I’m also making bourbon caramel sauce and chocolate truffle sauce to give as gifts, so I had to buy more jars yesterday!

      • I’d like to make more jam this weekend since I’ve already given (or marked as given) all of that first batch away. But I’m feverishly knitting and sewing to get all my gifts done so I’m not sure I’ll fit it in before Christmas. Bourbon caramel? That sounds amazing — and well worth new jars!

      • The bourbon caramel sauce is pretty quick, and a really lovely gift, or addition to dessert. It’s definitely less labor intensive than running the water bath canner, because it’s kept in the refrigerator.Be patient, though; it feels like the sugar will never get around to caramelizing, and then suddenly, BAM!

  5. Wish I had the pattern for that adorable sweater for my grandchild.

  6. Love your new look and “notes,” kiddo. Just learned to make a good chili and am working on other things as well. Also found a guitar teacher yesterday! How’s that for a present? Dee

    • Awww, thanks! My friend Vickie did the new header for me. She’s talented! And she let me mess up her kitchen, too.

      I made a white bean chicken chili yesterday, yum.

      Congrats on the new guitar teacher! I’m going to a “Fret Not Guitar” workshop on Saturday. Looking forward to it.