Strawberry Margarita Jam? Canning with alcohol!

May 28 | Guest post by Melissa
Strawberry daiquiri jam!
Strawberry daiquiri jam!
When I was a poor 20-something living on my own for the first time, I realized that for my first Christmas as a grown-up, I wouldn't have enough money to get anyone a gift. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, like I really wanted to, I decided to Martha Stewart it up and do a handmade Christmas gift for family and friends.

As a result, I discovered canning.

Now, most people are used to grandma sitting over a stove making strawberry jam in jars covered with gingham fabric. I really didn't want that. Looking online, I discovered something amazing about jam… alcohol makes it better!

Strawberry Margarita Jam, Peach Fondue Jam, Black Forest Jam: you better believe I make the best jam going!

I live in Vancouver, BC, and have access to AMAZEBALLS fresh fruit at ludicrously cheap prices. The key is finding it in the peak of the season, and buying a large quantity, directly from the grower (or as close as you can get).

For jars, you can recycle, repurpose, or use whatever cool containers, but make sure they seal VERY VERY WELL. A poor seal makes rancid jam. Or buy new lids if you're unsure — they're cheap and easy to find.

The key steps to making jam are this:

  1. Put fruit, flavourings and sugar (if desired) in pot, and boil it
  2. Add pectin
  3. Put hot jam into boiling hot jars and seal immediately
  4. Enjoy awesome popping sounds when the jars seal as they close.

Yeah, that was my reaction too. "It can't possibly be this easy!" Yeah, it totes is.

[Editor's note: Please take the necessary precautions to sterilize the jars during the canning process. For a more in-depth how-to, see here.]

As for recipes, here are some of my faves:

Peach Fondue Jam:

Peaches + chocolate liqueur

Strawberry Margarita Jam:

  • 3 cups strawberries
  • 2/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/3 cup lime juice
  • 1/3 cup rum
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 1 cup sugar (you can use up to 3 cups sugar, but I like it more tart)
  • 1 package liquid pectin

Crush the strawberries, and combine all ingredients except pectin and rum and boil in a large pot. Bring to rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and add pectin and rum. Spoon into steaming hot jars, and seal.

Black Forest Jam

Pit and crush the cherries, and combine fruit, sugar and cocoa into pot and bring to a rolling boil make sure you combine all the cocoa, so there's no lumps. Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and add pectin, coconut and chocolate liqueur. Spoon into steaming hot jars and seal.

And finally, the best holiday gift, that takes five minutes to make, and will wow the pants off of all the in-laws for family celebrations:

Homemade cranberry sauce

  • 2 parts cranberries (frozen, bagged is totally fine)
  • 1 part brown sugar
  • 1 part water

Bring to boil, turn heat down to gentle boil, and reduce into a sauce. Pour into hot jars to preserve it, or into a gift container if you're going to serve it soon (within the week in an unsealed container).

But feel free to experiment with your favourite flavours. Just about every fruit makes awesome jam, and any flavouring that works with the fruit will work with the jam.

  1. I love making jams & jelly, it's quite easy once you have the necessary ingredients & cans.
    My particular favorite is cranberry-raspberry-amaretto jelly. You can use whole cranberries (fresh or frozen!), cran-raspberry juice and amaretto plus pectin. It's great for Thanksgiving & Christmas when cranberry jelly is so traditional.
    (But really I love it as a peanut butter & jelly sandwich!)

    0 agree
  2. How much I love the idea of an alcoholic jam, I'm unsure as to when you actually eat it.
    Once I made jam from raspberries I had used to make raspberry liquor. The jam turned out very alcoholic and I couldn't eat it for the life of me in the morning, not could I use it as a chutney since it was really sweet.
    Any tips about how you use alcoholic jam? :)

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    • How about between the layers of a Victoria sponge cake? nomnomnom.

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    • I'd say boozy jam is appropriate in all the same situations as a mimosa. :)

      5 agree
      • If you or someone else has a mimosa-style jam/jelly recipe, I would fist bump you/him/her so hard.

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    • With vanilla ice cream, chocolate cake/white sponge cake with cream, cottage cheese, scones…

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    • I would mix or layer it into something like a custard or pudding. Booze + dessert is always a good combination.

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    • Most of the alcohol cooks off, so you taste the flavour, but it's not really alcoholic. I have it for breakfast all the time.

      Also, when it's a tablespoon of jam, even if there is much alcohol left, it's so minute that you won't notice it.

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  3. A note on pectin: most pectins require a certain (high-ish) amount of sugar to gel properly. However, there are also pectins (e.g. Pomona's Universal Pectin, which I am in no way affiliated with, but love with a fiery burning passion) which don't require sugar to gel. And Pomona's also uses WAY less pectin per batch of jam, so while it seems super expensive when you first buy it, it'll totally cost you less in the long run. Yay!

    1 agrees
  4. Loved this idea soooooo much that I am actually trying this, RIGHT NOW!!!!! I've never canned before and always wanted to so why not!!

    2 agree
  5. One of my aunt's favorite jellies to make was champagne jelly, but the alcohol cooked off while cooking, leaving it to taste like a slightly complex grape jelly. You'd have to add the booze at the last minute before canning to keep all the alcohol from evaporating in the heat.
    Also, I'd use tequila for a margarita jam.

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  6. So I made some strawberry liquor from beautiful Vancouver Island strawberries this summer. I am going to try to make some jam using this liquor. I was wondering though, could I make jelly with just the liquor?

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  7. I pinned this on pinterest as a reminder to do this for Christmas presents this year. I *just* finished making the black forest jam (sans coconut) and it tastes AMAZING!! I got everyone in the house to taste test it for me and they all love it! Thanks so much for this post and the recipe.
    Aside from spending FOUR HOURS pitting 2kg of fresh cherries, making jam is surprisingly easy. First attempt ever and not a fail!

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    • This is awesome to hear! YAY for perfect gifts. :)

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    • I'm so glad it worked out for you! Welcome to the canning addiction. Wait until you try pickling things in booze!

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  8. Thank you!!! I canned last year for Christmas and loved it, so I planned to do it again this year. Then I decided I wanted boozy jams and have been scouring the interwebs for different adult jam recipes. Yours are going on the list :)

    0 agree

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