Cranberry Pepper Jam

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Tart cranberries and spicy peppers mingle in this sweet and spicy Cranberry Pepper Jam.

When I realized I had been buying Cranberry Pepper Jam almost every time I was at the grocery store, I knew it was time to make my own version of this jam.

Cranberry Pepper Jam - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

I first tasted the jam with brie and fancy wafer crackers. Then I poured the jam over a simple block of cream cheese and served it with Ritz crackers. My kids went nuts over that.

Next, I spread the jam on the Best Ever Ham Sandwich. When you layer this Cranberry Pepper Jam with creamy goat cheese, salty ham, and fresh arugula, it’s the sandwich that everyone is going to be talking about.

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned an upcoming recipe that has been as highly anticipated as this Cranberry Pepper Jam.

I mentioned that I would soon be sharing the jam recipe when I first shared the sandwich recipe a couple weeks ago. In the time since, I’ve received countless emails, messages, and snaps asking when I’ll be sharing the recipe for the jam.

I’ll apologize now for the delay, because the recipe just wasn’t perfect until this version. And when I say it is perfect, I mean it. It is absolutely positively PERFECT now.

Cranberry Pepper Jam is everyone's favorite appetizer!

Cranberry Pepper Jam

When you’re working with cranberries, I’ve found that it’s really easy to make a cranberry sauce. As evidenced with this classic homemade cranberry sauce and this spicy hot pepper cranberry sauce, we love our cranberry sauces.

However, for this jam, I wanted something more jelly-like than cranberry sauce, sweet with a solid hint of heat. This Cranberry Pepper Jam delivers it all.

(If you’re looking for a little more heat in your jam, the finely minced jalapeno and serrano peppers in this recipe can be increased by up to 1/2 cup without affecting the final result.)

Cranberry Pepper Jam is sweet, spicy, and completely irresistible! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Cranberry Recipes

This time of year, there’s no end to the cranberry recipes that we love. Lucky for me, I learned many years ago to buy as many fresh cranberries as possible each holiday season and toss the bags straight into the freezer.

This makes it possible to make the crazy popular Cranberry Christmas Cake and the Nantucket Christmas Cranberry Pie all year round. Cranberry Almond German Pancakes and Cranberry Pecan Brownies in July? Yes, please!

As soon as apple season hits, this Cranberry Apple Tart needs to happen as well. There are so many ways in which we use cranberries throughout the year. And this Winter Spice Cranberry Cake? It’s not just for wintertime

You’re going to love all of these recipes, so stock up on cranberries ASAP and be set for all of next year!

Cranberry Pepper Jam is my favorite food to gift!

Why I Use Pomona’s Universal Pectin

You may notice two unusual additions to this recipe; calcium water and Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The calcium water comes in the box along with the Pomona’s, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing them separately.

Because I feel rather strongly about how spectacular Pomona’s pectin is among all others, I’m going to give you a somewhat detailed explanation of why it is that I am recommending this particular pectin product.

Pomona’s Universal Pectin, unlike most other commercial counterparts, does not contain any weird preservatives or fillers. Pomona’s, unlike most other commercial pectins, allows you creative license to scale up or down any recipe to your heart’s content. If you scale up other pectins, the jams or preserves almost inevitably fail.

Cranberry Pepper Jam is the appetizer I want on every cheeseboard!

Pomona’s also allows you to make low/no sugar jams, jellies, and preserves with the same product should you wish to do so. If you want to use a grocery store pectin, you’ll need to buy a separate, specialized kind of pectin for that.

Pomona’s lasts forever and has no expiration date as long as it is properly stored.

Pomona’s may seem more expensive if you just compare the box vs. box prices, but with the Pomona’s you can make between 3 and 5 batches of your favorite jam and with the major brand pectin, you get one batch per box. That makes Pomona’s comparable in all cases and cheaper in most.

*huge thanks to Rebecca Lindamood for her extensive help while developing recipes using Pomona’s and her willingness to share that knowledge so freely. Notes on the use of Pomona’s are very lightly adapted from her words here.

Cranberry Hot Pepper Jam is an EASY appetizer that everyone loves!

Kitchen Tip: I use this pot, this pectin, these jars and these jars when making this recipe.

Cranberry Pepper Jam Recipe

  1. Combine the cranberries, bell peppers, jalapenos, serranos, and vinegar in a large deep pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. While the mixture comes to a boil, shake together the calcium water according to the package directions. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of Pomona’s pectin.
  2. When the mixture on the stove is boiling, add the calcium water and sugar/pectin mixture. Stir and bring to a boil again. When the sugar and pectin have dissolved, about a minute of simmering, add in the remaining 5 cups of sugar all at once. Stir to combine and bring to a roiling boil. (A rolling boil will continue to boil across the entire surface even while stirring.)
  3. Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Remove from the heat and pour into sterile jars. Process in a hot water bath and then store in a cool dark place for up to a year. Alternatively, this jam may be stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month or alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 6 months.
You're going to LOVE this Cranberry Hot Pepper Jam!

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Cranberry Pepper Jam - get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

Cranberry Pepper Jam

4.67 from 24 votes
Pin Print Review
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Course: Appetizer
Servings: 112 about 3 1/2 pints (or approx 112 tablespoons)

Ingredients 

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups red bell pepper finely chopped, about 1 1/2 peppers worth
  • 2 large jalapeno peppers finely minced, about 2/3 cup worth
  • 2 serrano peppers finely minced, about 1/3 cup worth
  • 2 cups plain white vinegar
  • 6 cups sugar divided
  • 1 tablespoon Pomona’s Universal Pectin *
  • 4 teaspoons calcium water *

Instructions

  • Combine the cranberries, bell peppers, jalapenos, serranos, and vinegar in a large deep pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. While the mixture comes to a boil, shake together the calcium water according to the package directions. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of Pomona’s pectin.
  • When the mixture on the stove is boiling, add the calcium water and sugar/pectin mixture. Stir and bring to a boil again. When the sugar and pectin have dissolved, about a minute of simmering, add in the remaining 5 cups of sugar all at once. Stir to combine and bring to a roiling boil. (A roiling boil will continue to boil across the entire surface even while stirring.)
  • Allow the mixture to boil for 1 minute and then remove from the heat. Remove from the heat and pour into sterile jars. Process in a hot water bath and then store in a cool dark place for up to a year. Alternatively, this jam may be stored in the refrigerator until ready to use. The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to a month or alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 6 months. Enjoy!

Notes

You’ll notice two unusual additions to the recipe; calcium water and Pomona’s Universal Pectin. The calcium water comes in the box along with the Pomona’s, so you don’t have to worry about purchasing them separately. I’ve explained in the body of this post why it is that I am highly recommending this particular pectin product. 

Nutrition

Calories: 42kcal · Carbohydrates: 11g · Potassium: 5mg · Sugar: 10g · Vitamin A: 65IU · Vitamin C: 2.8mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @barefeetkitchen or tag #barefeetkitchen!

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{originally published 11/1/2017 – recipe notes and photos updated 12/9/19}

Sweet 'n Spicy Cranberry Pepper Jam is completely irresistible! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Gigi Riojas says

    Hi I live in Central America and cannot get Pomona Pectin. I was able to get pectin but cannot find calcium water, could I use plain water and the amount of pectin it asks for?

  2. Diane Gilch says

    Can you make this, put in dishwasher-clean plastic containers, and freeze? I’m trying to avoid the whole “putting up in jars” process!

  3. victoria lyons says

    Just making the Cranberry Pepper Jam right now, have you tried adding finely chopped shallots? Just a thought

  4. Robert Tillotson says

    I’ve used this recipe. I also added 4 superhots, blended, and doubled recipe. It has a solid kick, but the flavor from this recipe makes it perfect.5 stars

  5. Mary Ellen Van Bommel says

    I combined two recipes and came up with a very pretty jelly. I also strained through a food mill.
    I plan to sprinkle some fresh jalapeno on top of the jelly just before serving. Will be pretty for the holidays and add more zip—my family loves very spicy dishes.

  6. Suzi Troxell says

    Made this last night to take as gifts to my Bible study group as we enjoy all kinds of pepper jelly. I used the small 4 oz jars as they are perfect over a block of cream cheese. This recipe is fabulous! When you said you worked on it u til perfect…you are absolutely right! The heat was just right, pepper jelly must have a bit of heat but not overpowering! First time to use this pectin and am very happy with it, TY for telling us about it. Do you just keep the calcium water until you make another batch of jelly?
    Thanks again for a great recipe! BTW my yield was 14-4 oz jars.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      I’m so happy that you love the jam, Suzi. If you’ll be making another batch of jam soon, you can keep the calcium water in the fridge. Otherwise, I toss it.

  7. Aimee says

    Well, I bought the Pomona’s Pectin at the Amazon link given. But, the 3 pack was all that was offered for a reasonable price. I didn’t know I would need 5 boxes since each box has a scant teaspoon of the Calcium water powder. It wasn’t enough for the recipe, which calls for 4 teaspoons of the calcium water. And I’m not sure why we need the Pomona’s because the recipe promotes Pomona’s as a way to use less sugar, but this recipe, with the Pomona’s still uses 6 cups of sugar? All that being said, I think giving just a few more directions for making this jelly would be very useful. Mine has not thickened as much as I hoped for, maybe because of the calcium water, but it does taste delicious.3 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Aimee, you should have way more calcium water than you need for a batch with just what is in one box. I typically put the extra in the fridge or just toss it if I won’t be making more jam right away. You use the powder to make the calcium water and then you’re measuring the calcium water. You can certainly use a different pectin, however “I” truly love Pomona’s and it’s what I’ve had the best luck with for this particular recipe. Anything with cranberries requires a substantial amount of sugar to balances the tartness.

    • Mary Younkin says

      Unfortunately, jam recipes aren’t always reliable when quantities are changed. I typically make a recipe twice instead of risking it not setting when I’m making jam.

  8. Barbara Ridgway says

    Loved this! I added more chilis and was amazing! I used it over pate as well as warm Brie. love love love.5 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      Crystals can form as a result of undissolved sugar during cooking – typically when the jam is undercooked. And sometimes, when the jelly cooks, sugar crystals may form about the edge of the boiling mixture. The fact that your jam is runny makes me think that it may not have been hot enough to cause it to fully cook and then set.

  9. Tish says

    I don’t see how long to process this jam in the recipe (in a water bath canner).
    Do you have any recommendations?

    • Mary Younkin says

      Hi Tish, I typically process jams in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes if jars are pre-sterilized. Clean hot jars that are not pre- sterilized may also be used; in that case, process jams in the boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

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