Sunday, December 21, 2014


I'm making Cranberry Jam this morning. Just because. Actually I am not a fan of most overly-sweet commercial jams & jellies, but ja gotta have something to put on your toast and waffles besides butter, right? Many years ago I found Martha Stewart's Cranberry Jam recipe and it's tasty stuff, whether you use it to accompany your Thanksgiving bird or to dollop on your Christmas bagel. It reminds me a lot of lingonberry preserves, which cannot be had locally, and I don't always have time to drive the 3 hours to IKEA in Charlotte to buy a jar or two. 

Other than the freezer-type strawberry jam, this is the only jam I've ever made. I haven't bothered with actually doing the hot water canning dealio with it, either, because the jars I make and store in the fridge are usually consumed within 2 weeks. It's always disappointing to have to resort back to store bought preserves when the good stuff is gone, but maybe this year while cranberries are still available, I'll try my hand at long-term preservation of a batch or two, with an eye to expanding my repertoire to include other jams.  

If you look closely in the pic above, you can see the bottle of Vikingfjord vodka in the background there. Martha's recipe calls for a teaspoon of vodka, and I have no idea why but am not inclined to mess with the delicate chemistry of the process. And as long as the vodka's already out and I don't have to be anywhere today, I might as well make myself a karsk. Then maybe I won't mind so much that I have to rewash all the dishes that my mother "washed" last night.  *sigh* 

Now I'm not particularly a germophobe and have been known to push the limits of the 5-second rule (especially when chocolate is involved), but I am still not too keen on eating off of plates and cutlery that were just rinsed off with plain water. It's not clear whether Mom's increasingly worrisome erratic behavior and memory lapses are just natural to the aging process or indicative of something bigger brewing, and it's as frustrating for her as it is for the rest of us when her hearing difficulties and inattentiveness make for some trying breakdowns in communication. Maybe Santa will bring her some hearing aids, and bring me an extra dose of patience.

. . . . Well, the jam is done, the dishes are washed (again), and I'm going to sip my "special coffee" while listening to some holiday jams. Then it'll be back to the kitchen to cook up some more holiday goodies. Have I mentioned how therapeutic cooking is for me -- even when the recipe doesn't call for vodka!

Oh, and here's the ridiculously easy jam recipe:



1 pound cranberries
1 hard apple such as Arkansas Black or Granny Smith, peeled, cored and sliced into half-inch chunks
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger or crystallized ginger
3 inch cinnamon stick
zest of 1 orange in finest possible threads
1 teaspoon vodka
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1:  Rinse cranberries and put in a kettle with water, cubed apple, ginger, cinnamon stick, and orange zest. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes until berries pop.

2:  Add sugar to the kettle and return to a gentle boil, stirring constantly.  Once the sugar has fully dissolved, add vodka and nuts and cook for 2-3 minutes more until thickened, stirring carefully to prevent scorching.

3:  Remove cinnamon stick and serve or refrigerate in a covered container for up to two weeks. If you want to can the jam:  ladle hot jam into prepared 1/2 pint jar and seal. Process sealed jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.


  1. Hey, Intelliwench.
    I can totally relate on the aging parent. My mom does not live near me, but I visit 2-3 times a year and we chat every Sunday night. Or, rather, I yell at her over the phone and she (sometimes) understands what I have said. :)
    But, God forbid that she should allow her offspring to fund her a set of new hearing aids. Hmmmm. She is resilient as hell, tho, so I am hoping that I have inherited her constitution.
    the jam looks amazing... I cannot remember the last time I made jam.... all I have been doing for six weeks is assessment of student papers.... culminating in the past week of the 11th hour submissions so I won't have to be bored over the holidays. Ha ha.
    vodka.... an intriguing ingredient!!
    smiles to you.....

  2. Cooking can be therapy; But I hate making salads.
    the Ol'Buzzard


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