Holiday Canning for Gifts & Entertaining

Adair P Hoover,
Home & Garden Information Center

Making and preserving jams and jellies is a popular summertime activity in South Carolina. And while you might not be thinking about preserving food in December, there are fruits “in season” right now that are perfect for canning. Apples, pears, cranberries and oranges are examples. They make excellent jams, jellies and sauces which can then be used as holiday gifts, hostess gifts or additions to your holiday menus. So don’t store away your water-bath canner just yet. Check out the following recipes and wow your friends and family with extra special gifts and treats this season!

For more recipes and detailed canning instructions see:

Pear Jam with liquid pectin

Yield: About 8 half-pint jars

1 quart finely chopped, peeled and pitted pears
¼ cup lemon juice
7½ cups sugar
1 pouch liquid pectin

Combine fruit, sugar and lemon juice in a large saucepot. Bring slowly to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Stir in liquid pectin. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water-bath canner.

Cranberry Sauce –Whole Berry

Yield: About 6 pints

8 cups cranberries
4 cups sugar
4 cups water

Wash cranberries; drain. Combine sugar and water in a large saucepot. Boil 5 minutes. Add cranberries. Continue boiling, without stirring, until skins burst. Ladle hot sauce into hot jars, leaving ½-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece lids. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water-bath canner.

Apple Butter

Yield: About 8 to 9 pints


8 pounds apples
2 cups cider
2 cups vinegar (5 percent acidity)
2¼ cups white sugar
2¼ cups packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cloves

Wash, remove stems, quarter and core fruit. Cook slowly in cider and vinegar until soft. Press fruit through a colander, food mill, or strainer. Cook fruit pulp with sugar and spices, stirring frequently. To test for doneness, remove a spoonful and hold it away from steam for two minutes. It is done if the butter remains mounded on the spoon. Another way to determine when the butter is cooked adequately is to spoon a small quantity onto a plate. When a rim of liquid does not separate around the edge of the butter, it is ready for canning. Fill hot apple butter into sterile half-pint or pint jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process 5 minutes in a boiling water-bath canner.

Orange Marmalade

Yield: About 7 half pint jars

4 cups thinly sliced orange peel (about 6 large oranges)
1 cup thinly sliced lemon (about 2 medium)
4 cups orange pulp, cut up (about 6 large oranges)
6 cups water
Sugar (about 6 cups)

To Prepare the Fruit: Add water to fruit in a saucepan. Heat to simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Cover and let stand 12 to 18 hours in refrigerator. Heat and cook over medium heat until peel is tender, about 1 hour.

To Make Marmalade: Sterilize canning jars. Measure fruit and liquid. Add 1 cup sugar for each cup of fruit mixture. Bring slowly to boiling, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly to the jellying point, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour hot marmalade into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water-bath canner.

NOTE: When peeling the citrus fruits for marmalades, be sure to include some of the white membrane found just under the skin. This is where the most pectin is located.

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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.