A Spiced Winter Cranberry Conserve Recipe with warming Brandy, Cinnamon, Ginger, and Cardamom. When thinking about cranberry conserve, think cranberry jam recipe with a thicker, chunkier texture….either way, a perfect excuse for canning cranberries and a wonderful winter jam recipe or to enjoy year-round!
I just can’t help it.
When the days start becoming shorter and a wee bit cooler, I want to embrace all things fall and winter. I spend much more time in my kitchen ‘nesting’ for the months and holidays ahead. This month I have canned many quarts of chicken stock and bone broth and have plans to use them in some soups that I’ll be canning as well.
I’ve also started putting up some sweeter preserves for our own use and to give as gifts. Canning cranberries and winter jam recipes always say to me “winter is coming”
Since last Christmas, I have been mulling (see what I did there? I used ‘Christmas’ and ‘mulling’ in the same sentence…in October!) an idea for a winter cranberry jam recipe that would be thick and chunky and ‘taste like the holidays’ redolent with warming spices like crushed cardamom, ginger and cinnamon and a splash of brandy. This delicious Spiced Winter Cranberry Conserve Recipe is the result of that mulling.
Before we get too far down the track, let’s just back up and spend a quick minute discussing some the varieties of sweet preserves out there:
Of course, you have your Jams and Jellies…these two start out very similarly but jellies are made by straining the liquid thereby removing any fruit bits while jams embrace the fruit bits. Jellies are typically clear and firmer in texture than jams
Preserves are like jams, but even chunkier. Where you might crush your fruit in a jam, you would have larger pieces in a preserve and it might be even looser than a jam.
Marmalades are typically jams made with the rinds of citrus fruit
Conserves are basically thick, chunky jams with additional dried fruits and nuts tossed in.
Pop on over here for a complete discussion on Jam Making Basics. This Jam Making Basics post discusses the basic ingredients for all jellied fruit and why they are important, basic equipment, and the differences between Jam, Jelly, Preserves, Conserves, and Marmalade.
So back to my splendid Spiced Cranberry Conserve recipe…it’s everything I had hoped it would be and then some – a thick chunky cranberry jam a perfect use for canning cranberries. It took me a couple of attempts to get the texture I wanted; I was looking for something a little loose that would drip over the side of a wedge of Brie or a round of Camembert (are you drooling yet?) If you are familiar with cranberry relish, this conserve is along the same lines…but maybe a bit softer. These winter jam recipes pair so well as amazing appetizers for your holiday gatherings!
Tangy dried apricots and walnuts also add to the texture and flavor of this Spiced Cranberry Conserve recipe as well.
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The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is my bible. Even if I think I could make the recipe in my sleep, I double-check myself against the Ball Book…that whole botulism thing. If you are new to canning, it should be your very first purchase. My cookbook library inventory recently expanded with the addition of The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes!
Here are the jars I used, but mine have the black lids. I don’t see that they sell the black lids anymore!
- 4 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 1/2 cups orange juice
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 TBS crushed cardamom pods, tied up in a cheesecloth or put in a tea strainer
- 4-5 sticks cinnamon
- 1 apple, I used a Granny Smith
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, diced
- 1/2 cup walnuts, diced
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 TB brandy
- Prepare canner, jars and lids. See The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for guidance
- Place a saucer in your freezer
- In a large preserving pot or deep, stainless steel saucepan combine cranberries, orange juice, water, cardamom pods, and cinnamon sticks. Bring to a boil and then simmer at the lowest temperature, covered, while you prepare the rest of the ingredients or about 10 minutes.
- Chop apples, nuts, and apricots into small dice
- Add sugar, return to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until mixture thickens...about 10-15 minutes.
- Add diced apples, nuts and apricots to conserve and cook, stirring constantly for about 5 more minutes
- Remove from heat and gel test by placing a small amount of the jam on the plate. Put the plate back in the freezer for 1 minute. If when you push it with your finger it wrinkles a bit it is done.
- If gel state has been reached, remove cardamom pods and cinnamon and skim off any foam. Stir in brandy and ground ginger.
- Spoon your jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- Remove air bubbles and wipe the rim with white vinegar.
- Center lid on the jar
- Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight.
- Place jars in canner, making sure they are completely covered with water by at least one inch.
- Cover pot and bring to a boil
- Boil for 15 minutes
- Turn heat off, remove the lid and let sit for 5 minutes
- Carefully remove jars with a jar lifter and place them on a rack where they can be undisturbed for 24 hours.
- Refrigerate any jars if their lids don't pop down.
This recipe assumes some knowledge of proper and safe canning techniques. Please see the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for guidance.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
- Ball (2 Packs) Wide Mouth Half Pin Mason Pint Jars-8oz-4 Per Box-Total 8, 8 oz Jars, GREEN
- Roots & Branches VKP1002 Home Canning Jar Lifter, Securely Grips, Red
- NORPRO 591 Canning Bubble Popper/Measurer, Green
- New Norpro 606 Magnetic Canning Jar Lid Wand Lifter Removing Tool Sale
- Kitchencraft Home Made Stainless Steel Maslin Pan With Handle, 9 Litre
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 ounces Serving Size: 1 ounce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 172Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 2gSugar: 36gProtein: 1g
So while I made this recipe with a wedge of Camembert in mind, it truly is a versatile condiment:
- We recently made Cubano sandwiches, but instead of mustard and pickle, I put a dollop of this Winter Cranberry Conserve on my sandwich with roast pork, ham and swiss cheese. DE…LISH!
- My son smears it on his biscuits.
- It will be delicious with turkey and pork.
- I can’t wait to use it on a meat and cheese tray.
- These lovely jars of winter cranberry jam deliciousness also make wonderful gifts at the holidays.
You might also like these canning, preserves, conserve and jam recipes:
- Nectarine Jam with Elderflower
- Spiced Golden Plum Jam
- Savory Red Onion Jam
- Rum Spiced Pear Jam
- Blueberry Jam with Chamomile
- Navel Orange Marmalade
- Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam Recipe
- Meyer Lemon and Dried Fig Conserve
- Spiced Winter Cranberry Conserve
- Blood Orange and Plum Preserves
- Jalapeno Pepper Wine Jelly
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