Cranberry Plum Jam with Lemon Balm

Fresh cranberries are just starting to come into season and plums are on their way out. The peak time for both these crops overlaps for very little time – in September and probably a little bit of October. Fortunately last week I was able to find good quality cranberries and plums at the supermarket last, so I made a jam out of them. I flavored the jam with some lemon balm (lemon verbena will do well too) and some good quality lemon essence. The jam came out really delicious – sweet and sour and with just the right consistency because plums and cranberries have natural pectin in them. It’s great to have homemade jam because it has no artificial ingredients or colors in it – this deep maroon color of the jam is from the fruits I used. I have jarred this jam in little containers and am hoping to enjoy the goodness of these fresh fruits a little later in the year when I won’t be able to find them in the supermarket.



1. 16 ounces of fresh cranberries
2. 12-14 fresh black plums
3. 2 cups of sugar
4. 2-3 sprigs of lemon balm or lemon verbena or just 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon zest
5. ½ cup of water
6. 1.5 teaspoons of lemon essence


1. Wash the cranberries and the plums under a stream of cold water and dry them with paper towels.

2. Using a sharp knife cut the plums into small bite sized pieces. Discard the pits.

3. Placed the chopped up plums in a large heavy bottomed pan and let them cook on low heat for 4-5 minutes.

4. Add the cranberries to the pot and stir. Continue cooking on low heat for another 4-5 minutes.

5. Add the water and cover the pot and let the fruit cook for about 30-35 minutes. Stir frequently and if it looks like the fruit is sticking to the bottom, add a little bit more water and stir. Again cover the pot.

6. When the fruit looks softened and cooked, add the sugar and stir. Continue cooking on low heat.

7. Add the sprigs of lemon balm or lemon verbena to the fruit and cook for another 15-20 minutes (also on low heat).

8. By now the fruit starts taking the form of jam, so take the sprig of lemon balm/verbena out of the jam.

9. Add the lemon essence to jam and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Stir frequently because after you add the sugar, the jam can get burnt very easily.
10. Let the cool down completely before you put the jam in jars.
11. Serve on a hot buttered toast or with cheese and crackers! I can eat it all by itself – by the spoonfuls!


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  1. Permalink Submitted by Shilpa Patel on Mon, 07/10/2013 - 00:04

    this would be a great accompaniment to Thanksgiving turkey…if you can manage to keep a jar or two!

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Mon, 07/10/2013 - 01:03

      Of course! That’s a great idea – I’ll definitely stash some away. Would you like some Shilpa? I can keep some aside for you too 🙂

      • Permalink Submitted by Shilpa Patel on Mon, 07/10/2013 - 20:30

        Shabnam, I would be stupid indeed to say no to an offer like that! Would love some – and, since I am shameless, some of your apricot habanero chutney if you have any to spare!

        • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Mon, 07/10/2013 - 20:38

          Yes, of course – I’ll keep some for you and also look through my stash in the pantry to see if I have any Apricot Habanero Chutney bottles left – I think I do. I’ll get them across to you sometime soon 🙂

  2. Permalink Submitted by Sandra Ruper on Tue, 08/10/2013 - 07:02

    Do you think I could use splenda or truvia in place of the sugar to make it sugar free? and do you share the recipe for the apricot chutney? What do you serve it with?

    • Permalink Submitted by Shabnam on Tue, 08/10/2013 - 13:35

      Hi Sandra, I am sorry but I don’t know the answer to that question…I have never tried a jam with Splenda or Truvia. Basically, the sugar in jams works as a preservative for the jam, so I don’t know if Splenda/Truvia would so the same. Also the consistency of the jam comes from the natural pectin of the fruit and the sugar coming together but I don’t know if other sweetners can work the same way. Give me some time…I will try to look for the answer for you 🙂 I’ll ask other food-bloggers if they have tried using Splenda or Truvia in jams.

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