I know, I know, you’re probably tired of cooking for the holiday season already and the thought of doing more at this very moment doesn’t exactly inspire or thrill. But, actually…this recipe pretty much cooks itself and the combination of ingredients is rather festive. An added bonus: while it’s on the stovetop, your kitchen will smell delightful and afterwards, you’ll have something unique and special to serve up to your guests.
This jam isn’t subtle or summery in flavour – it’s full-on winter celebration, warmly spicy and rich.
Cranberry Persimmon Jam (small batch, yield: just over 2 cups)
12 ounces fresh cranberries, washed well (this year, I was so pleased to find cranberries grown in Canada – straight out of Nova Scotia!)
3 fuyu persimmons, peeled, mashed (a potato masher should do the trick, as will a hand blender)
1 heaping teaspoon ground cardamom
1 piece star anise
juice of 1/2 lime
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
Throw all the ingredients into a large saucepan and stir together. Bring the mixture to a boil, then immediately turn the heat to low. You want a consistent low boil – if bits of cranberry and persimmon are festooning the frosty kitchen windows in a pulpy sort of garland and colourful hot fruit dribbles are being catapulted into your Christmas tree as it stands sedately in the living room, you’ve got it on too high.
It will take time to boil this all down – about one hour, more or less. You don’t have be present the entire time, but you cannot forget about it for too long. Every once in a while, in between topping up your wine glass and wiping the cranberry-persimmon spatter off the chandelier (because you accidentally had the mixture on too high when you first got started), you will have to stir it. Just so the sugar doesn’t burn. Trust me on that one. Burnt sugar sets off the smoke detector. And your neighbours really don’t like that when it’s only six in the morning. But, that’s another recipe from another time….
When the fruit and sugar have cooked down and everything is all jammy and fragrant and you can’t resist taking a bit of a taste, then it’s time to remove it from the heat and pack it into clean mason jars. Don’t forget to remove the star anise chunk or someone is going to get a tooth-destroying, aggressively licorice-y surprise when they bite down.
Seal and refrigerate the jars when the contents have cooled down and enjoy! Try to use it all up within three or four days. That won’t be difficult.
*I think you could substitute a good honey for the sugar without any problems. I am going to try this next time, and I will update this post if I find that it works.
**I think cinnamon would be lovely with this as well. I’m also thinking about a whole vanilla bean. And cardamom pods, versus the ground stuff. Hmmmm….
***You could definitely process this in a boiling water canner for longer, safe storage. You could also increase the size of the batch.
****I took a photograph of the jam as it was cooking in the pan, but let’s just say I’m a tad better at shooting landscapes and flowers. You know what jam looks like. 😉
What are your favourite recipes using cranberries?