Family Advent Calendar: Christmas Canning! Lemon Ginger Marmalade and Whiskey Fig Cranberry Sauce


It’s time for our annual Saturday of Christmas Canning. What’s top on our list this year? The Lemon Ginger Marmalade with Champagne and Elderflower that we made over the summer.It was a huge hit with friends and family!  So, for the holidays, we are going to tweak it by making the marmalade with St. Germain instead of the Champange/Elderflower Syrup combo!  And, of course, we’ll be canning a big batch of our Whiskey Fig Cranberry Sauce both for Christmas dinner and for giving. [Recipes and free printable labels below]


Without further ado, here are reprints of our very own amazing recipes!

Lemon Ginger Marmalade with Champagne and Elderflower [or St. Germain]

Yields a total of 31/4 pints. We use small 1/4 pint jars for gifts. You can make this recipe either with Champange/Elderflower Syrup or with St. Germain. Or, you can choose to leave out the booze entirely!
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season



  • 11 Small Lemons or, a 2lb bag of small organic lemons
  • [This yields about 2 cups slivered peel 2 cups pulverized pulp and juices, and 2 cups pith, pits, and membrane]
  • 1 2- in piece of fresh ginger
  • [This yields about 1/3 cup peeled fine-diced ginger]
  • Cheesecloth or Jellybag & Twine
  • Water [about 8 cups]
  • Granulated Sugar about 6-8 cups [We used about 6 1/2 cups]


  • 1/2 cup Champagne Prosecco, or Sparkling Wine
  • & 1/4 cup Elderflower Syrup


  • 1/4 cup St. Germain


  • Scrub the lemons well. [We scrub ours in a tub of water with a bit of vinegar added.]
  • Trim the tips off of the lemons with a knife and place the tips in the jelly bag or on a large double circle of cheesecloth.
  • Using a vegetable peeler, remove the peel from the lemons in large swathes or in wide corkscrews, leaving as much of the white pith as possible on the bodies of the lemons.
  • Slice the lemon peels into thin slivers. [We had 2 generous cups]
  • Place the peels in a medium-sized, thick-bottomed saucepan.
  • Peel the ginger, discarding the peel, and dice as finely as possible. [We had a scant 1/3 cup fine-diced ginger]
  • Place the finely diced ginger in the saucepan.
  • Over a sieve placed over a bowl, slice the pith and outside membrane away from the lemons, allowing the juice to fall through the sieve and into the bowl.
  • Pour the juice into the saucepan.
  • Place the pith and outside membranes into the jelly bag or cheesecloth.
  • On a large cutting board with a rim for catching run-off or with a cutting board set into a rimmed pan, slice the lemons in thin slices and chop into smaller pieces, transferring any large, thick membrane and any and ALL of the seeds to the jelly bag or cheesecloth.
  • Place the chopped lemon segments and all of the juice from the cutting board into the saucepan. [This was about 2 cups.]
  • Tie the jelly bag or circle of double cheesecloth full of lemon tips, pith, membranes, and seeds with a piece of twine, and place it into the saucepan.
  • Add about 2 quarts [8 cups] of water to the pan.
  • Bring the contents of the saucepan to a boil.
  • Then, lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 90 minutes until the mixture has reduced by half and the lemon peels are quite soft.
  • Remove the jelly bag or cheesecloth parcel and squeeze the juice into the saucepan. You may now discard or compost the contents of the bag.
  • Place a heatproof bowl on a food scale and set to tare.
  • Weigh the lemon mixture [noting the weight, of course] and then return it to the saucepan.
  • Measure an equal amount of sugar as that of the lemon mixture. [We ended up with about 6 1/2 cups of sugar.]
  • Return the lemon mixture to a medium heat and gradually incorporate the sugar until it is all dissolved.
  • [At this point, you will also want to prepare a boiling water bath for canning and ensure that your jars are clean and sterilized]
  • Bring the marmalade to a boil and then cook rapidly over medium heat for about 20 minutes. [It's a good idea to put a candy thermometer in the pot now, to start keeping track of things.] .
  • Reduce the heat of the marmalade to a medium low and simmer, stirring only infrequently, for another 25-45 minutes, or until the candy thermometer reaches 220F.
  • Remove the mixture from the heat.
  • Skim the foam off of the marmalade.
  • [Optional] Add the champagne, if using, and stir quickly to incorporate. The mixture will bubble up and foam!
  • [Optional] Add the elderflower syrup or St. Germain and stir quickly to incorporate.
  • [Optional with alcohol] If you notice that the temperature has dropped significantly from 220F, feel free to simmer on low until the temperature rises again.Then, remove from heat.
  • Allow the marmalade to cool just slightly, about 3-5 minutes, before skimming the foam again and placing into clean, warm, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-in headspace.
  • Seal the jars and process in a hot water bath for 8-10 minutes.
  • Cool jars completely.


You can make this recipe either with Champange/Elderflower Syrup or with St. Germain. Or, you can choose to leave out the booze entirely!
Again, please note, the general temp for marmalades to set is 220F/104C!
It's all good! If the marmalade is runny, simply reboil and reprocess. But note, it may take up to a week for marmalade to fully set. If the marmalade is overcooked and becomes too solid, simply heat it a bit before use

Whiskey Fig Cranberry Sauce

For Grandma Geraldine
This recipe makes 1 1/4 pints. But it can easily be doubled or tripled.
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season


  • 12 oz bag cranberries
  • 1/4 c whiskey [We used Fireball Cinnamon Canadian Whisky, but any Whiskey will do!]
  • 3/4 c apple cider [juice or water can be substituted here]
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup [50 g] diced dried apricots [OPTIONAL]
  • 1 cup [8 oz] quartered fresh figs tips and tails removed, green or purple
  • 1/2 lime, both zest and juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cloves


  • Heat liquid, sugar and [optional] dried apricots in a pot and bring to a boil.
  • Add the cranberries.
  • [If your cranberries are frozen, wait a minute or two before continuing.]
  • Add the quartered fresh figs and return to a boil.
  • Reduce heat to medium low.
  • Add lime zest, lime juice, and spices.
  • Boil on low, stirring frequently, until the sauce comes to an almost jam-like consistency.
  • [This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.]
  • Sauce may be canned using a boiling water bath, leaving 1/4-in headspace in jars and processing for 15 minutes.


If you would like to make this into a “compote,” add 1/4-1/2 c shredded sweetened coconut and/or 1/4 c sliced almonds per batch to your sauce before serving. Alternatively, you could use coconut and/or almonds as a garnish on the day of your gathering. This is going overboard, of course…..but we like to go overboard around the holidays.

Now that you’ve made it, how about some freshly designed free printable Whiskey Fig Canning Labels? [Feel free to copy the jpeg and print it out for yourself at home!


And now for some labels for our Lemon Ginger Marmalade [made with St. Germain instead of Elderflower Syrup/Champagne – see the notes of our recipe for the slight alteration!]


What do you plan on giving to friends and family this year?

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