I wasn’t sure what to title this recipe – three ingredient cranberry jam? 15 minute cranberry jam? You-honestly-won’t-believe-how-simple-this-is cranberry jam? In the end I stuck with quick and easy cranberry jam so as not to sound like a loon, but all of the above applies too.
Cranberries, sugar, water. It’s barely even three ingredients really (surely water doesn’t count?).
This cranberry jam takes less than 15 minutes to make – I timed it and everything. You do need to cut each cranberry in half before you start cooking them, otherwise they have a slight tendency to explode… It’s a bit tedious, and it probably makes up at least a third of the total prep time, but it’s worth doing if you don’t want hot cranberries flying across your kitchen. After that, it’s just a case of cooking them down in a pan with a dash of water and some sugar.
Have you ever actually eaten a fresh cranberry? I tried my first one the other day, and honestly, they’re revolting. Are you even supposed to eat them raw? I’m guessing not, because seriously – terrible. Hence the need to cook them with sugar, which really cancels out their bitterness. The resulting flavour is much more pleasant!
This cranberry jam is pretty versatile – it could actually function as a cranberry sauce to serve alongside your Christmas dinner, if you like. This time, I served it as an accompaniment to a cheese board (cheese is always a good solution, no matter what the problem).
I don’t put together a cheese board very often, but I’ve never not enjoyed one, and they’re a great thing to serve at this time of year. They really bring people together and encourage everyone to get stuck in and just help themselves. We’ve had many a good evening hunched over a platter of cheese!
My cheese board this time was quite simple, but there was something for everyone – something old (a couple of really lovely mature cheddars), something new (a mild and creamy brie), and something blue (for my husband). You don’t need to borrow anything unless your neighbours happen to have really good cheese.
I used both the Davidstow 3 year Reserve cheddar and the Davidstow Extra Mature cheddar (you can’t go wrong with double the cheddar). Both are fabulous – perfectly crumbly with a real mature tang. They both go beautifully with the sweetness of the cranberry jam, which cuts right through the richness of the cheese.
In fact, I think I might go and make myself another cracker…
Will you be serving a cheese board this Christmas? If so, what are your favourite accompaniments? I hope my quick and easy cranberry jam will feature!
Davidstow’s 3 Year Vintage Reserve is available exclusively from Ocado and Davidstow 18 Month Extra Mature is available from Tesco Extra, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons & Ocado.
- 130g (~ 1 cup) fresh cranberries
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 4 tbsp water
- Cut each cranberry in half to prevent them from popping as they cook. Add the halved berries to a small saucepan, along with the sugar and water, and bring to a gentle boil. Turn the heat down a little, and cook for around 5-10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the berries have cooked down completely and the mixture has thickened up to produce a rich jam. Leave to cool before serving.
Note: Nutritional information is approximate, and will depend on exactly what ingredients you choose. Information above is for 1/4 of the batch.
A quick black olive tapenade is also great for serving with cheese, smeared on a cracker!