pot of sliced citrus floating in mulled merlot with spices

Merry Mulled Merlot Jam

Created and contributed by Carey Nash, Merry Mulled Merlot Jam is a low-sugar jam made with Pomona’s Universal Pectin. Pomona’s Pectin contains no sugar or preservatives and jells reliably with low amounts of any sweetener.
Carey says, “I developed this recipe right before the holidays to give out as special gifts. It is complex, robust, tart, gorgeous red, and perfect for holiday gifts!” We tried it, and Carey is absolutely right – delicious!


Note on Mulling Spice Packets: Carey says, “The ones I use are tea bags, so about a tablespoon of mulling spice in each packet. The brand I use is Martinelli’s, known for their non-alcoholic sparking juice.”
Alternative Mulling Ingredients & Directions
Alternative Mulling Ingredients
3 strips of orange zest, 2” wide, or equivalent (best to use an organic orange)
4 whole peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
¼ of a whole vanilla bean
Alternative Mulling Directions
1) After measuring out 1 cup of Merlot to simmer the cranberries in, pour the rest of the bottle (should be a little more than 2 cups) into a saucepan.
2) Add above ingredients.
3) For vanilla bean, use a paring knife and slice the piece of vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds into the Merlot to be mulled and also add the vanilla bean pod itself to the mixture.
4) Bring covered mixture to a simmer and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into the pan with the squished cranberries.
5) Add remaining ingredients and follow steps above to finish making the jam.
Servings 6 cups


  • 1 ¼ cups sugar up to 2 cups
  • 3 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries rinsed and picked over
  • 3 cups Merlot 750 ml bottle, which contains about 3 ¼ cups
  • 2 cups navel oranges peeled and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup lemon juice bottled
  • 3 packets Mulling Spice See Note
  • 2 teaspoons calcium water See Step #1


  • 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 jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover, and keep jars in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small saucepan; cover and heat to a low boil. Turn off heat and keep lids in hot water until ready to use.
  • Measure sugar into a bowl and thoroughly stir pectin powder into the sugar. (Carey’s original recipe called for 2 cups sugar; at Pomona’s we used 1 ¼ cups sugar and it was just right for us.) Set aside.
  • In your jam-making pan, simmer 1 cup cranberries in 1 cup of Merlot until the cranberries soften and pop (about 10 minutes). Once they have popped, squish them all up with your wooden spoon.
  • When cranberries are squished, add the remaining 2 cups Merlot (drink any Merlot left in the bottle or add it to the jam – your choice!), 2 cups orange pieces, ¼ cup lemon juice, and 3 packets of Mulling Spices. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Remove Mulling Spice bags and add 2 teaspoons calcium water. Bring to a boil. Add pectin-sugar mixture, stirring vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve the pectin while the jam comes back up to a boil. Once the jam returns to a full boil, remove it from the heat.
  • Taste and add more sugar if desired. If adding more sugar, stir for 1 min. more at full boil.
  • Fill hot jars to ¼” of top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-piece lids. Put filled jars in boiling water to cover. Boil 10 minutes (add 1 minute more for every 1,000 ft. above sea level). Remove from water. Let jars cool. Check seals; lids should be sucked down. Eat within 1 year. Lasts 3 weeks once opened.

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