Cranberry-Mandarin Christmas Preserves

Holiday Preserves on Brie 2


Baked brie with Christmas preserves: it’s what’s for dinner. And breakfast, probably.

Christmas preserves 1

I’ve embraced this season of chocolates, cookies and leftover party food as in place of our regular meals, or at least as supplements. I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten more baked brie in the last few weeks as I have all year – and I’m counting on more tonight.

Christmas Preserves 2

About twenty years ago, I was in my early twenties visiting a friend in Saskatoon – she lived in a corner bungalow that back then cost so little these days I could probably put it on my credit card – and she had two small kids, a work and soccer schedule, and the whole scenario seemed so grown-up, especially when we decided one day to make a big pot of preserves to divvy into jars and hand out as Christmas gifts. We came up with this mishmash of holiday flavours – citrus, cranberries, nuts and spice – and made a special run to the store for some liquid pectin, which it turns out we didn’t really need. It tasted like Christmas, and we sat on stools in the kitchen and ate so much of it spread on crackers that I had to curl up on the couch afterward. (We may have been chasing it with Bailey’s.)

Christmas Preserves 3

I’ve been meaning to make it again, and came across the old jotted-down-on-foolscap recipe, which it turns out (now that I know better) needed a lot of tweaking. It is perhaps the simplest preserve you could make, the high-pectin cranberries taking care of any jelling that needs to happen. It’s also a great way to use up those smooshy Mandarin oranges that seem to abound in every box. It’s sort of a holiday preserve cure-all; it’s not really jam, but is great on toast. It’s delicious warmed and poured over ice cream or cake, or spooned into the middle of those little shortbread thumbprint cookies. And of course – on top of a wheel of Brie. (Slice the rind off the top of a wheel of brie, put it in a baking dish, top with big spoonfuls of these preserves and bake at 350 or so until it starts to get all melty. That’s it.) And it keeps for ages in jars in the fridge or freezer – I imagine you could process it for longer shelf storage, too – I packed mine into Weck jars and will be bringing it along to Christmas parties for the next couple weeks.

Holiday Preserves on Brie 1

Speaking of processing – this process was sped up by pulsing the oranges and lemons into a chunky mash in a food processor. It was part of a quest to come up with holiday recipes for fun kitchen appliances at London Drugs – and they have another $100 gift card to give away to one of you for your shopping pleasure! (Disclaimer: it doesn’t have to be for anyone else, you could just shop for yourself.) I should also mention that it’s my belief that kitchen appliances make perfectly suitable gifts – I know a lot of men are told they should be buying jewelry or some such, and that home appliances come with some negative domestic implications, but I for one would choose a waffle iron or coffee machine over diamonds any day. Just sayin’.

To enter, leave a comment here! If you’re heading to a Christmas party (or hosting one) this weekend, what was your favourite thing to eat? And if you’re hunkering down at home and avoiding those minus a hundred temperatures, what have you been eating curled up on the couch?

Cranberry-Mandarin Christmas Preserves


Yields1 Serving

5-6 Mandarin oranges or 2-3 regular oranges
2 small lemons
4 cups sugar
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup raisins
1 tsp. cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 cup chopped pecans


Grate the zest off the oranges and lemons into a large saucepan or small pot. Peel the fruit and break (or slice) the insides into chunks (quarters are fine) into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times, just until chunky. Add to the saucepan with the zest.


Add the sugar, cranberries, raisins, cinnamon and allspice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture thickens and becomes more uniform in colour and the cranberries pop. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Remove the cinnamon sticks, if you used them, and stir in the pecans.


Store in jars in the fridge for up to a month, or freeze for up to 6 months.


 5-6 Mandarin oranges or 2-3 regular oranges
 2 small lemons
 4 cups sugar
 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
 1 cup raisins
 1 tsp. cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks
 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
 1/2 cup chopped pecans



Grate the zest off the oranges and lemons into a large saucepan or small pot. Peel the fruit and break (or slice) the insides into chunks (quarters are fine) into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times, just until chunky. Add to the saucepan with the zest.


Add the sugar, cranberries, raisins, cinnamon and allspice and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture thickens and becomes more uniform in colour and the cranberries pop. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Remove the cinnamon sticks, if you used them, and stir in the pecans.


Store in jars in the fridge for up to a month, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Cranberry-Mandarin Christmas Preserves

* This post was generously sponsored by London Drugs as part of their #LDHoliday campaign, but the words and thoughts are my own. Thanks, London Drugs!


About Julie

103 comments on “Cranberry-Mandarin Christmas Preserves

  1. Lauren O.
    December 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    The girls in my girl guide group had a bake sale table this morning, so I’m currently watching movies on the couch and eating leftover puffed wheat squares. I made some cranberry pistachio biscotti for a cookie exchange earlier this week – it’s my go to recipe for those kind of things.

  2. Katie
    December 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Currently hunkered down at a party eating all my hosts’ chili jam. But totally want to make this to bring to the next party I attend!

  3. Larry B
    December 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Winter supper tonight is a big pan of thrown together paella. Later, on the couch, will probably be my never-ending jar of mixed nuts…

  4. Rachael
    December 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    This is the year of the butter tart! I have make about 5 doz. And there are at least three more baking sessions before the big day! Also lots of wine!

  5. Joanne
    December 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    You MAY have been chasing it with Baileys? ha ha
    Unfortunately for me, I’m snacking on Sweet Onion chips, my current favourite. Not too Christmassy, but gluten-free!

  6. Korena
    December 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    I made some cranberry-mandarin jam to put on Dorie Greenspan’s Jammers the other day, and the leftovers are wonderful on toast. I bet this is even better! I’m currently curled up on the couch eating smoked oysters and cream cheese on crackers 😉

  7. Anita
    December 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Am simmering Jambalyaya as I write – made with quick cooking barely from a recipe handed out with samples at my local grocery this week. Love that the barely is local (i.e. Alberta) and tastes better than rice.

  8. Crystal
    December 7, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    Staying home and feeding the kids sweet potato pancakes.

  9. Scatteredmom
    December 7, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Not going anywhere! Made a PILE of cookies today though. This recipe looks so yummy, and I have most everything on hand. Will try it on brie for our Christmas Eve appie spread.

    Thanks so much!

  10. Erin B
    December 7, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Hot soups at home, tonight was Ken’s rutabaga/rib-roast soup/stew. Tomorrow will be pumpkin and ginger soup made by me.

  11. Deidre
    December 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Staying at home; homemade pizza with Kids; decorating the tree; watching Elf — a perfect evening!

  12. Heather
    December 7, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I’m making baked spinach and artichoke dip for a party tonight. Delicious!

  13. Susan
    December 7, 2013 at 6:54 pm

    Staying in due to cold weather and dinner is an assortment of cheeses, crackers, nuts, grapes and a lovely glass of wine for myself and a craft beer for hubby.

  14. Barb B in BC
    December 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    I should be going out to a hospital auxiliary fundraiser but it is just too cold to get motivated to bundle up and start the car. So I think a big bowl of popcorn and a Christmas movie will be perfect.

  15. Jen
    December 7, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    I’m making a lamb stew for dinner tomorrow with friends. Also, I’ll make a black forest cake. I haven’t had black forest cake in years and my husband loves them.

  16. akajb
    December 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I’m boring tonight, and just doing some grad school work. Dinner was tater tots (blush) and following it with a bowl of in their shells mixed nuts. Was looking at your spiced nuts recipe and I think that’s one I have to try. I’ve been very drawn to nuts this winter.

  17. WendyJ
    December 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Roomie and I have both had a crazy busy week – plus she has bronchitis – so tomorrow is a stay home, eat soup, and get better day.

  18. Kristi A.
    December 7, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I love the baked Brie, and the bacon wrapped candied hot dogs. No Christmas party this weekend, since we are currently hosting a kids’ sleepover birthday party 🙂

  19. eroica
    December 7, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    I made the ZUni Cafe ricotta gnocchi tonight …

  20. cj
    December 7, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    was out for lunch today and had a lovely turkey salad sandwich with apples and cranberries and walnuts…not quite party food but oh so yummy.

  21. Rana
    December 7, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    Chickpea curry for supper tonight.

  22. Andrea
    December 7, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    Jambalya for dinner tonight. Perfect on this cold evening.

  23. Kirsten
    December 7, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    Popcorn and fruit smoothies while we watched a movie!

  24. Rebecca
    December 7, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Brrr, it’s cold out here in the mountains! We went to the Banff Santa Claus parade tonight and I’m still chilled to the bone (despite being home for hours!). Things seem very busy for us lately and so I’ve mostly been relying on take-out to fill in any cooking gaps in this week’s cooking schedule. I do plan to use my crock pot a bunch next week – pulled pork and Classy chicken seem perfectly suited to this cold weather!

  25. Margaret@KitchenFrau
    December 7, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    At a party last night we had wonderful dates, stuffed with a sliver of parmesan cheese, wrapped in bacon and baked til the bacon was crispy. I couldn’t stop eating them – ate more than I could count on my fingers!

  26. Carolyn
    December 8, 2013 at 5:21 am

    Last night we had Christmas dinner with my family – turkey with “all the trimmings”, followed by cookies and sweets. It was perfect!

  27. Deb
    December 8, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Nibbling on candied pineapple and rum. Was marinating the fruit for the Christmas pudding and that accidentally happened.

  28. Lorraine T
    December 8, 2013 at 7:00 am

    We ate out of the pantry/freezer yesterday. Having stayed inside all week I was low on the grocery side of things but we ate well. Canned salmon patties mixed with red onion, cracker crumbs and sriracha. Roasted veg of carrots, beets, and potatoes. Frozen butternut squash soup, quickly defrosted , was our starter. Yumm.

  29. Jan @ Family Bites
    December 8, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Baked brie is one of my favourite holiday snacks – and this version looks beautiful!

  30. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    December 8, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Looks great and on top of baked brie? Yes please!

  31. Cargo Marg
    December 8, 2013 at 9:51 am

    Cheese was on my menu last evening. Topped with
    homemade fig jam, fresh figs cooked in my secret
    ingredient, crabapple juice. Delish! Happy
    Holidays to all 🙂

  32. Katie
    December 8, 2013 at 10:34 am

    We’ve been eating cheese too…so much cheese…

  33. Meta4
    December 8, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I’m staying inside, baking cookies and decorating the house for Christmas.

  34. NurseJennifer
    December 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    This weekend is full of gatherings. I’m going to be making stuffed mushrooms. Sounds healthy until you think of it as a vehicle for cheese, bacon and onions. Delightful. Merry Christmas!

  35. Jeanie
    December 8, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    We’ve been having these Skor bars that are made with condensed milk, Ritz crackers, Skor bits and melted chocolate. YUM!

  36. Judith
    December 8, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Braved the cold last night and went out for Hot and Sour soup. Was perfect!
    This looks delicious and so me! I will definitely toast the pecans first. I have been doing that when I add them to cookies. So much more flavour!

  37. Pat
    December 8, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks for mentioning the thumbprint shortbread cookies. Brought back happy Christmas memories.

  38. Christy
    December 8, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    Eating way too many Andes mint cookies. Great with cocoa, or bailey’s or anything really!

  39. kickpleat
    December 8, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    I agree about small kitchen appliances over diamonds too 🙂 But I’m not the fancy type! This looks delicious and I’d probably make it my dinner too!

  40. Laura
    December 8, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Enjoyed going out to Breakfast with Santa with the grandchildren!

  41. Erin Kaipainen
    December 8, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Its not for a Christmas party, but these long, cold dark days make me want to cook warm, spicy curries. So tonight it’s some Nepali Daal Bhaat (with spices from Nepal), a mung bean curry, saag (Nepali curried greens), a spicy chicken curry and of course rice. A feast tonight means leftovers tomorrow!

  42. Trina
    December 8, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I’ve always wanted to try to tackle preserves! Went to a party this weekend and had creamcheese stuffed jalepeno… Kinda standard, but try were wrapped in bacon so they were extra fantastic.

  43. Chris. Mercer
    December 8, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Wow, these look delicious. I had a dream about Brie during my nap this evening; can’t shake the amazing images!


  44. Rebecca
    December 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Went out and hacked down our Christmas tree today and came home and whipped up some chicken, salad and scalloped potatoes. But what I really want is your Brie…mmmmm….

  45. Barb
    December 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    We to a party last night. My favorite was the Christmas pudding with custard sauce!

  46. Lisa Thai
    December 8, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Staying in to warm off the frostbite… Dinner will be warmed leftovers, garlic bread and soup.

  47. Susan Bowen
    December 8, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    We decorated our tree last night. All the family was here. including our 21 year old daughter’s sweetheart, who gazes at her with ghosts of happy Christmases future in his eyes..

    And so, of course we needed sustenance: baked cheese and bacon dip with baguette rounds, chewy cherry cookies, sugary shortbread, fresh truffles. All washed down with crabapple cider that tasted like summer. Mmmmmm.

  48. Trinh
    December 8, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Our work party was on Friday, I brought chicken wings and a mushroom and leek baked Brie.

  49. Sheila
    December 8, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    My fave is any kind if baked Brie.

  50. Kaitlin
    December 8, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Soup! It’s all I’ve been eating since it’s been cold.

  51. Jennifer andrew
    December 8, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    That looks so good. It is on my list for next weekend.

  52. Julie
    December 8, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    Hot chicken buffalo dip is my husband’s favorite holiday party food.

  53. Jodi garland
    December 8, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Cooked a turkey dinner, perfect comfort food a cold weekend

  54. Anonymous
    December 8, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    I made your braised bison short ribs with balsamic last night (with grassed beef from Trail’s End Beef near Nanton). Used fig balsamic vinegar instead of espresso balsamic (though I am lusting after buying some of that and doing it all again). Delicious and so easy. Thank you, Ms Julie.

  55. Beverly
    December 8, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    I was at a Christmas party and my favorite food item was a Black Forest pie!

  56. Kim cook
    December 8, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Game night with the kids with home made caramel corn.

  57. Heather
    December 8, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Chicken pot pie soup for our only free night in December

  58. Christa white
    December 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    My new favorite is bailey balls! (Rum balls with baileys instead!!

  59. Christa white
    December 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Baileys balls! Mmmmm

  60. Charlotte
    December 8, 2013 at 11:57 pm

    Roasted brussel sprouts with parmesan. My favourite!

  61. Rose
    December 9, 2013 at 5:00 am

    Baked Brie . Love it. Might do one with caramelized onions. This weekend we baked shortbread, bought our tree and ate quinoa salad.

  62. Megan
    December 9, 2013 at 7:27 am

    I hosted my annual cookie exchange this weekend:) I made your rain cracker crisps for our appetizer and then we ordered in yummy Thai food.

  63. Crystal
    December 9, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Brie, crackers, pepper jelly…and egg nog…Yummmmm

  64. Lori
    December 9, 2013 at 7:46 am

    When heading to a party I bring a feta cheese ball with pita chips. For decorating the tree yesterday with a girlfriend we drank hot spiced apple cider and mixed nuts.

  65. Alexandra
    December 9, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I love a bowl of juicy clementines at a party.

  66. Amy
    December 9, 2013 at 10:08 am

    This looks so delicious! it just got added to my already over-flowing list of Christmas to-dos. I have a significant other with a serious dislike for raisins though … especially sultanas … any thoughts on a replacement for them?

  67. Lisa
    December 9, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I can’t stay away from a good cheese plate, both at parties and hunkered down at home. If there are shortbread cookies to follow, I’m a happy girl!

  68. Bonnie White
    December 9, 2013 at 11:15 am

    This preserve would be a nice gift with a red ceramic brie baker I saw at Superstore. Delicious recipe. Thanks.

  69. Laurie from Richmond
    December 9, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I’m making curried goat tonight. On the weekend we went to a Christmas party that had a to die for Christmas plate. It was the highlight to me of the party 🙂
    Curried goat seems as if it’ll be the right thing for cold, snowy weather

  70. Shelley
    December 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Baking, baking, baking. that’s my plan for the next while.
    Some cheese and red wine and I am already to go

  71. Carolyn
    December 9, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Next Saturday we make stollen, a long-standing tradition with my friend, Sue. On this occasion we use the food processor to make our own marzipan for the stollen, and I use my stand mixer to make the dough. It’s a lovely day of flour, sugar, yeast, friends and cups of tea! The ending is lovely loaves that we mostly gift to others, many of who now put in orders in advance!

  72. KittyPride
    December 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I love crab dip or cheese dips, so good with veggies!

  73. Sandy
    December 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    This weekend, I’m hosting a holiday party and I’m planning to make a traditional fruit cake. Wish me luck.

  74. Karen
    December 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Going to get the ingredients tomorrow to make your antipasto and take jars of it along to the Christmas party (and save some for myself!).

  75. Evelyn
    December 9, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    I think homemade jams and chutneys are the perfect hostess gift. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  76. Joann
    December 9, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I love going retro and making devilled eggs anytime I get the chance. The perfect appetizer.

  77. Silvi
    December 9, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Stayed in and made cookies with my 3 yr old this weekend. Next weekend will be making traditional Portuguese Filhos de Natal for Christmas! Yumm!

  78. Jackie H
    December 9, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    I always associate nuts with Christmas. My favorite holiday snack is to make a spiced nut mix served warm with chopped fresh rosemary.

  79. Jill Metcalfe
    December 10, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Attempting to master best of bridge’s Almond Roca in time for family Christmas party this weekend!!!!

  80. Elaine
    December 10, 2013 at 10:48 am

    We’ve been doing quite a bit of hunkering down on the couch these days, and have been satisfied with snacking on a ploughman’s lunch-type thing: apples, pickled something, mustard, cheese, and bread!

    Oh. And pizza. Because it’s pretty much the greatest thing in the universe.

  81. Lana
    December 10, 2013 at 11:54 am

    We went to a dinner party at John’s cousin’s home on the weekend. Everything we ate was delicious but my favourite part was the Chocolate/Ezpresso Mousse she made for dessert. FANTASTIC.

  82. Kris
    December 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Stayed in today and have a pot roast simmering in the oven, to be served with mashed potatoes and the last of my garden carrots…actually the beef, potatoes and carrots are all home grown.

    Definitely have to make this preserve; doubt that I will get to it before Christmas but maybe over the holidays

  83. everybodylovespretty
    December 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Yummy!! What a great Christmas appetizer!

  84. rose
    December 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Love anything citrusy! Making this one to jam up my thumbprint cookies for exchange….. and for my toast!

  85. Foodelf
    December 10, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Grilled, marinated pork tenderloin served w/Thai green curry sauce. Used grill pan, not outdoor grill.

    The preserve looks wonderful!

  86. Jo
    December 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    I keep thinking I should try making preserves, they look so good!

  87. Olivia
    December 10, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I made some butternut lemongrass soup this weekend. It was yummy!

  88. Haruko
    December 10, 2013 at 9:58 pm

    I’ve been trying to surround myself with veggies and fruit (fresh and dehydrated) to keep myself from snacking too much on sugary/fatty things.
    I made a big pot of lentil soup for tomorrow.
    Your butter tarts look wonderful and am very tempted to try making some….if I ever get Christmas cards finished!!

  89. Anonymous
    December 11, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I also think appliances are great presents. One of my favourite anniversary presents was a shiny, red KitchenAid food processor – I adore it!

  90. Sue
    December 14, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    Getting ready to make this and realize I have clementines, not mandarins. I can’t imagine it makes a difference…? I hope!

  91. rena
    December 21, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Enjoying pb chocolate molten lava cakes at home 🙂

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  102. Reg
    December 3, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Do the pecans stay suspended? What about using other nuts like almonds or hazelnuts?

    • Julie
      December 5, 2019 at 6:35 am

      They do! I like pecans because they’re lighter and more buttery… you could try almonds or hazelnuts for sure, but I’d make sure they’re in small pieces or flakes, so they aren’t too hard.

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