The area where I live is home to numerous apple orchards, which makes fall a great season to spend in the kitchen. I buy bag after bag of local apples and always enjoy finding new ways to use them.
The idea of canning the apples — a great way to enjoy them long after apple season is over — has always been deeply appealing. But I used to think canning was mysterious and scary. I do make applesauce and apple butter all the time, but have never tried processing these recipes for shelf stability.
This recipe for apple pie jam, though, won me over immediately. It’s easy and a great introduction to the canning process. It uses quite a lot of sugar, something I generally try to avoid, but the result is more than worth it. This jam is terrific mixed with plain yogurt or spooned over buttered toast. You can try spreading some on a grilled cheese sandwich (think extra sharp cheddar) or in turkey or ham sandwiches — something I haven’t yet tried, but am eager to taste.
Make sure to use a crisp variety of apples when you make this recipe, and choose organic apples, if possible. Slightly older apples are fine, though, as I’ve found this to be the perfect way to use up apples that are a little past their prime.
Spiced Apple Pie Jam Recipe
Makes about 6 half pints
- Enough peeled and diced apples to fill a four cup measure (8-10)
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground ground cardamom (or use ground ginger)
- 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 package pectin (I used Ball brand “natural gel” original fruit pectin)
- 4 cups white sugar (I used organic sugar)
- 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used organic)
- 1/2 tsp. organic butter
- Add water in between all the apple pieces to fill to 4 cups.
- Put the apples, water, lemon juice and spices in a pot on the stove. Sprinkle the pectin over the fruit and stir well.
- Bring the mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, then add the sugars, stir well to combine, and bring back up to a full rolling boil.
- Boil for EXACTLY one minute, stirring vigorously the entire time.
- Remove the apples from the heat and stir in the butter (this helps to reduce the foam). Skim off any foam that remains.
- Ladle the apples and syrup into hot, clean jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace; wipe the jar rims and threads.
- Cover each jar with a lid and a ring and process in boiling water for 10 minutes.
— Winnie Abramson writes the organic gardening and food blog Healthy Green Kitchen
Photo credit: Winnie Abramson