cranberry habanero jelly on top of cream cheese and crackers

Cranberry-Habanero Jelly


5 from 1 vote
Excerpted from Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy (Fair Winds Press, June 2013)
Allison says: “Hot pepper aficionados will appreciate the distinctive kick of this habanero pepper jelly, yet it’s mild enough that it can be enjoyed by those who like only very small amounts of heat. The cranberries add a brilliant red hue to this translucent, yellow-flecked jelly. Served with cream cheese and crackers, it makes a gorgeous and spicy addition to any appetizer table. Remember, for canning safety, do not increase the quantity of any peppers in this recipe.”


TIP: Holy Hotness!
Habanero peppers are about as hot as they come, and getting even a little on your skin can be quite painful. Always wear gloves when working with them, do not let them come in contact with any part of your body (especially your eyes). Use common sense to keep safe and pain free!
Servings 4 cups


  • ¼ cup cranberries finely chopped
  • cups yellow bell pepper finely diced + seeded
  • 2 teaspoons habanero pepper minced + seeded
  • cups white vinegar 5%
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water see step #1
  • cups sugar divided
  • 2 teaspoons Pomona’s pectin powder mixed with sweetener


  • Before You Begin, prepare calcium water.
    To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well.
    Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
  • Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.
  • Combine chopped cranberries, diced yellow pepper, minced habanero pepper, and vinegar in a saucepan. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer, still covered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • In a separate bowl, combine pectin powder with ½ cup of the sugar. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
  • Add calcium water to the pepper mixture, mix well, and return the mixture to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the jelly returns to a boil. After the pectin is fully dissolved, add the remaining quantity of sugar and stir to dissolve it. Once sugar is dissolved, and the jelly returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.
  • Can Your Jelly: Remove jars from canner and ladle jelly into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes. (Add 1 extra minute of processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.

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16 Responses

  1. Christine
    | Reply

    Could you substitute a sweet juice in place of sugar? What would the ratio be please?

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      We have never tried it, but it could work. The juice will need to be all natural, without any additional sweeteners, just 100% juice.

      We would guess that 1 cup of juice would be used. You will need to blend the pectin into that juice. Bring juice to a boil in a separate sauce pan. Put boiling juice in cup for immersion blender, or in food processor, or in blender. Add pectin. It is very important to vent the lid (if there is one) to let steam out. Don’t use an enclosed blender that can’t be vented. Blend for 10 seconds, then stop and scrape down the sides so all pectin clumps are in or on the liquid. Then blend for a full minute until all pectin powder is totally dissolved.

      You can then add the liquid pectin into your hot jelly mixture and proceed with the recipe.

  2. Maggie
    | Reply

    If the recipe is doubled (tripled, quadrupled, etc) and put into pints instead of half pints, how long do they need processed in the water bath?

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      They will all need to be water bathed for 10 minutes. Happy jamming!

  3. Sheryl Eckleberry
    | Reply

    Can honey be used in this recipe? Thank you

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      It sure can! It will measure half the amount of sugar.

  4. Andrea Agee
    | Reply

    Hi! I just made this, doubled the recipe exactly, and it was super thick, already congealing as I scooped into jars. Is this normal? Thank you!!

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Hello Andrea,

      Did you measure the raspberries after they were mashed? Were they quite juicy?

  5. Roba Dally
    | Reply

    Can I reduce sugar to 1 cup instead of the 2.5 cups the recipe calls for? Also, is it safe to double or triple the recipe? Thank you!

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      You sure can!

      Yes, you can multiply this recipe, as long as you are able to process that many jars and volume of jam at the same time.

  6. Karen
    | Reply

    HI – this recipe looks fun! I’m seeking ways to lower sugar intake…any thoughts on decreasing the amt of sugar or substituting w/ stevia? Thank you! Karen

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      Hello Karen,

      You can certainly use Stevia in this recipe!

  7. Barbara Ginsberg
    | Reply

    Can you substitute a different chili pepper? I have Flame Fresno’s in my garden. They are a milder heat than habenaro’s.

    Thank you for your reply.


    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      You sure can! Just make sure the proportions are the same. Happy jamming 😊

  8. Katie
    | Reply

    Would making this with white wine vinegar work? Would it add a little more complexity to the flavor?

    • Shelby Collings
      | Reply

      AS long as the white wine vinegar is 5% acidity, you sure can!

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