How We Made Apple Jam

We were blessed this year with a surprisingly abundant crop of crisp, sweet apples, in stark contrast to the normally reliant pears that succumbed to a late-season frost and produced almost nothing.

apple corerAfter enjoying fresh apples for 3-4 weeks, we began to sense that apple season was peaking, so I picked enough apples Sunday to fill up our galvanized tub. I let them soak in cool water to keep them crisp, and Amanda thinks this was a mistake because it may have compromised the natural protection they have in the orchard. After rinsing them thoroughly (I opted not to wash them with soap), I cored them using the little corer/divider we keep in the cabinet, similar to but not identical to the one in the photo. I then cut off the bad places with a paring knife. The cores and the bad places went into the compost bucket. Notice I did NOT peel the apples.

I then ran the apple slices through the slicing attachment of my food processor. This produced rather thin slices of apple with skin attached. I ran about an inch and a half of water in the big 2-gallon stew pot we call Aunt Ione’s Pot even though it was 30 years ago when Aunt Ione passed and left it to us. I added to the water one box of low-sugar pectin and one cup of sugar. Then I started adding the thin apple slices until the pot was full and cooked the mixture on medium heat, stirring periodically. I stopped when the mixture looked less like individual apple slices and more like preserves, which took about 20 minutes of simmering. By this time the peelings had blended in with the flesh. I removed the stew pot from the heat and spooned the hot mixture into canning jars. I used a water bath process and let it boil for 10 minutes before turning it off to let it cool.

As we do with all our canned stock, we labeled the apple jam and placed it immediately in the root cellar.

As we do with all our canned stock, we labeled the apple jam and placed it immediately in the root cellar.

The resulting jam has what I think is an excellent texture, soft enough to spread but still having enough structural integrity that it feels like you’re eating apples. It uses about 1/5 as much sugar as most of the recipes on the Internet, so it’s a LOT less sweet than the apple jelly you would buy in a grocery store. Adrian says it tastes to her like she’s eating applesauce on her toast, but I think it’s “jam-like” enough to be quite satisfying.

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