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Cranberry Pear Jam – Traditional and Low Sugar Recipes

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I tried plain pear jam several years ago and was underwhelmed. The taste was quite bland. This year I've been blessed with a bounty of pears from the neighbors again, so I went looking for some different recipes. First I took the most overripe pears and made up a batch of pear wine with candied ginger. Next I ran across a recipe for Autumn Cranberry Pear Jam in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. (If you enjoy canning, I highly recommend this book. There are tons of great recipes!)

cranberry pear jam in spoon

I didn't have a couple of the ingredients (they used liquid pectin and apple juice), so I made some substitutions for the first batch. We loved the flavor profile of the traditional jam, but it was quite sweet. I made batch #2 with Pomona's Pectin and less than half the sugar – much more fruit flavor. I'll share both versions here so you can choose the one that you prefer.

Cranberry Pear Jam – Traditional Recipe

Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Ingredients

  • 3 cups pears – cored, finely chopped and crushed (I kept the peels on – your choice)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cranberry juice or unsweetened apple juice or cider
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, organic preferred
  • 2 tablespoons powdered pectin
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter, to reduce foaming
  • 5 cups granulated sugar

Directions

Prepare canner, jars and lids. Your water bath canner should be filled about 2/3 full – enough to cover cup sized jars with two inches of water. Jars should be sterilized and kept hot. I run mine through the dishwasher. Some people heat them in their canning water or in a warm oven. You can see my full canning stovetop set up in the currant jelly post.

Crushed pears

In a large, non-reactive pot (I use a heavy bottom stainless steel pot), combine pears, dried cranberries, pomegranate or apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, butter and powdered pectin. Bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in all sugar. Return to full rolling roil and boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam, if desired.

Ladle into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids. Screw bands until snug. Process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner. Turn off heat, remove canner lid, let sit five minutes. Remove from canner and place on kitchen towel on counter top. After jars are cool, check seals. Refrigerate any jars that did not seal and use them first. (It's rare that a jam jar will not seal, but once in a while there may be a nicked rim or some other factor that causes a failure.)

Makes around 6-7 cups.

spoonful of cranberry pear jam with jar of jam in background

Cranberry Pear Jam – Low Sugar Recipe

Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving

Ingredients

  • 3 cups pears – cored, finely chopped and crushed (I kept the peels on – your choice)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cranberry juice or unsweetened apple juice or cider
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar or 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, organic preferred
  • 2 teaspoons Pomona's pectin powder
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water (included with Pomona's Pectin)

Directions

In a small bowl, mix together sugar or honey and pectin powder. Don’t skip this step, or your pectin will clump. Set aside.

In a large, non-reactive pot (I use a heavy bottom stainless steel pot), combine pears, dried cranberries, pomegranate or apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, and the calcium water. Bring to a full boil.

Add honey-pectin or sugar-pectin mixture, stir vigorously 1-2 minutes while cooking to dissolve pectin. Return to boil and remove from heat.

Ladle jam into sterilized jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims clean and screw on the lids. Process for 10 minutes in water bath canner (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level). Jam will last about three weeks once opened. Makes around 5 cups.

cranberry pear jam jar

The cranberries, cinnamon and fruit juice team up with the natural sweetness of the pears to make a great fall jam that is more than the sum of its parts. If you use a fair amount of cinnamon, I highly recommend buying bulk Ceylon cinnamon, as opposed to cassia or Chinese cinnamon. The flavor is richer and more complex.

More Preserving Recipes and Tips you May Enjoy

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Cranberry Pear Jam – Traditional

A delicious blend of classic autumn flavors. Great for gift giving.

  • Yield: 67 cups 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 cups pears – cored, finely chopped and crushed (I kept the peels on – your choice)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cranberry juice or unsweetened apple juice or cider
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, organic preferred
  • 2 tablespoons powdered pectin
  • 1/2 teaspoon butter, to reduce foaming
  • 5 cups granulated sugar

Instructions

Prepare canner, jars and lids. Your water bath canner should be filled about 2/3 full – enough to cover cup sized jars with two inches of water. Jars should be sterilized and kept hot. I run mine through the dishwasher. Some people heat them in their canning water or in a warm oven.

In a large, non-reactive pot , combine pears, dried cranberries, pomegranate or apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, butter and powdered pectin. Bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in all sugar. Return to full rolling roil and boil exactly one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim off foam, if desired.

Ladle into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two piece lids. Screw bands until snug. Process for  10 minutes in a water bath canner. Turn off heat, remove canner lid, let sit five minutes. Remove from canner and place on kitchen towel on counter top. After jars are cool, check seals. Refrigerate any jars that did not seal and use them first.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

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Cranberry Pear Jam – Low Sugar Recipe

Cranberry Pear Jam - traditional & low sugar recipes. Tart cranberries team up with sweet pears and a hint of cinnamon to create this memorable autumn jam.

Not so sweet version of these classic autumn flavors.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 cups pears – cored, finely chopped and crushed (I kept the peels on – your choice)
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice or unsweetened apple juice or cider
  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar or 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon, organic preferred
  • 2 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water (included with Pomona’s Pectin)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix together sugar or honey and pectin powder. Don’t skip this step, or your pectin will clump. Set aside.
  2. In a large, non-reactive pot (I use a heavy bottom stainless steel pot), combine pears, dried cranberries, pomegranate or apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon, and the calcium water. Bring to a full boil.
  3. Add honey-pectin or sugar-pectin mixture, stir vigorously 1-2 minutes while cooking to dissolve pectin. Return to boil and remove from heat.
  4. Ladle jam into sterilized jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims clean and screw on the lids. Process for 10 minutes in water bath canner (add 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level). Jam will last about three weeks once opened. Makes around 5 cups.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

Originally posted in 2013, updated in 2015, 2018.

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17 Comments

  1. I love this recipe and am going to save it to my Jam and Jelly file for the near future. Pears are in season right now — good timing! I have a question. You say the pears should be cored, finely chopped and crushed. How do you crush them and why? With the flat part of your knife?

    Thanks! I’m looking forward to hearing from you and am putting pears on my grocery list for next week!

    Dorine

    1. lol – this is funny to me because I took a photo of my mashed pears, but then I thought, “Heck – who wants to look at mashed pears?” I will see if I can dig it out of the recycle bin and add it to the post. (Done!)

      What I did was finely dice the pears and stuff them into my measuring cup, packing firmly with clean hands. You want to make sure you don’t have air pockets so you are really getting the full amount of fruit. This works best with very ripe pears. I used windfall pears, and this was a great use for them. You wouldn’t want to use very firm pears, because they wouldn’t crush well. You could probably use a potato masher if you didn’t want to use your hands.

  2. The ingredients list
    1/4 pomegranate juice or unsweetened apple juice or cider
    1/4 bottled lemon juice
    Is that a 1/4 cup? or 1/4 bottle?

  3. This looks absolutely beautiful and I have a ton of pears! I’m curious for ideas on your favorite ways to serve/eat the jam. It seems too fancy for toast! Thanks!

    1. In years where we have a good pear harvest I make up quite a bit of the jam, so we have plenty on hand and don’t need to save it for special occasions. (Although just enjoying it on toast does make the toast a little more special.) If you want to show it off a little more, you could use it:

      In thumbprint cookies

      As filling in a spiral roll up sponge cake

      To top baked Brie (this is sooooo good) – take a round of Brie (or section of a round) top it with jam and bake until the cheese is melted

      1. I love these ideas. Thank you so much! I made a double batch last weekend with the honey suggestion and unsweetened cranberry juice. it turned out so good! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  4. I’m seeing inconsistencies here. I’m in the middle of making the traditional recipe. Calcium water is in the directions but not on the ingredients list. Also, you’ve got somewhere the suggestion to mix the pectin with the sugar before adding it, but then the directions say clearly to add the pectin with the other ingredients and boil it before adding the sugar. So, um…. here I am, with sugar and pectin all mixed together, and no calcium water, and cans ready to go…

    1. Sorry about that. It looks like my son accidentally copied the low sugar jam directions into the printable version of the tradition jam. The traditional jam directions were correct up above, but not in the print friendly version. I’ve updated the print friendly version. There’s no calcium water in the traditional jam.

    1. I have not tried pear honey. I have made pear leather, but it tends to be a little grainy. All you need to do is core the pears and cook them down and puree, then dry the puree.

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