Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs
I first made this a few years ago for Christmas gifts & my family hounds me every year for more! Toasting the walnuts really adds to the flavor and the little bit of crunch they give makes it a bit out of the ordinary. I found the recipe on the Kraft website but have made some modifications. Makes 6, 8-oz jars. This is very easy, so please do not be turned off by the number of steps. I wanted to be very precise about the canning and included some extra information.
- Wash jars and screw bands in the dishwasher on the 'hot water' or 'sterilize' cycle and heated dry cycle. Leave them in there until ready to use so they stay heated which reduces the chance of jars cracking when you add the hot jam. Alternatively you can wash them in hot, soapy water and then fill each with clean hot water to keep them warm while you are making the jam.
- Fill a heavy bottomed stock pot or canner about half-full with water and bring to simmer.
- Put lids in a small saucepan and bring to a 'near boil' for about 5 minutes to get them gummy for sticking. Let stand in hot water until ready to use.
- Place cranberries, juice and water in a large saucepot. Bring to boil.
- Reduce heat to low; add orange zest, cover and simmer 10 minutes.
- Stir in toasted walnuts.
- Stir pectin into the 1/2 cup sugar you set aside. Stir this into the fruit/walnut mix. This reduces clumping and it seems to mix better.
- Bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. This can take 5-10 minutes.
- Quickly stir in the rest of the sugar.
- Return to full rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat. Skim off any foam with metal spoon.
- Time to test the jell: I like to keep a metal spoon in a glass of ice water on the counter, or you could keep one in the freezer. Put about half a spoonful of jam on it and let it cool to room temperature. If it is the consistency you want, move on to the next step. If it is too runny, you can add a bit more pectin (1/4 to 1/2 a box) and bring back up to a boil for 1 more minute before canning.
- Carefully ladle the hot jam into the prepared jars, (a funnel would be a big help) filling to within 1/4 inch of tops.
- Wipe jar rims and threads clean. Cover with two-piece lids. Screw bands tightly but not with all your strength.
- Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. If you do not have a rack, simply place a tea towel in the bottom of the pot to keep the jars from rattling and lower each jar individually using your tongs or jar tongs.
- Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches; add more boiling water if needed. I like to bring my teapot to a boil and then let sit on low so hot water is readily available.
- Cover; bring water to gentle boil and set your timer for 10 minutes. (See below for other altitudes.) Do not overprocess as this can lead to runny and discolored jam.
- Remove jars carefully with tongs or jar tongs and place upright on a towel in a place they won't be bumped to completely cool. I usually let mine sit overnight.
- After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger. If the lid springs back, lid is not sealed and refrigeration is necessary.
- According to the National Center for Home Preservation, homemade jams and jellies that have been processed in a canner for the recommended time, should retain best quality and flavor for up to one year. All home-canned foods should be stored in a cool, dark, dry place, between 50-70°F
- Once opened, jam should be kept in the refrigerator where it is good for 1-3 months. Just watch for any signs of mold or other nasties.
- If your walnuts were not purchased toasted, I highly recommend you take a moment to toast them yourself. Here are three ways it can be done: OVEN: Bake on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 8-10 minutes, checking frequently. MICROWAVE: Spread walnuts in a single layer in a microwave safe plate. Microwave on HIGH for 5-6 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes. STOVE TOP: Cook walnuts in a dry skillet on MEDIUM HIGH heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- At altitudes above 1,000 feet, increase processing time as indicated. 1,001 to 3,000 feet: Increase processing time by 5 minutes. 3,001 to 6,000 feet: Increase processing time by 10 minutes. 6,001 to 8,000 feet: Increase processing time by 15 minutes. 8,001 to 10,000 feet: Increase processing time by 20 minutes.