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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Apple Raspberry Jam



As the end of the raspberry season approaches, I wanted to use some of the last pickings to make some Apple Raspberry Jam. I have been making No Pectin Raspberry Apple Jam for several years, but this time I wanted to up the ratio of apple to raspberry, in part to see if I could come up with a jam that would not be too expensive for those who have to buy the berries rather than have lavishly producing plants right in the back yard.

I am doubly blessed on costs because friends have shared a couple of bushels of totally organic apples from their own trees, so the cost of this jam for me is the sugar (purchased on a loss leader sale for 22 cents a pound), the lemon juice, and the jar lids that can't be reused. A really frugal treat!

Here is the recipe for today:

Apple Raspberry Jam

8 c raspberries
8 c sugar
4 c diced apples
1/3 c lemon juice (use reconstituted, bottled juice, like ReaLemon brand for most consistent acidity)

1.  Combine the raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large (non-aluminum) pot and stir.

2.  Cut the apples in quarters, remove the cores and spots and dice finely. To keep the apples from browning, cut a cup of apples, stir in to the raspberry mixture, cut another cup, and repeat. (Dicing the apples is the most labor-intensive part of this recipe. A food processor could be used to roughly chop the apples instead, but you don't have to have a processor to make this jam.)

3.  Bring the mixture to a full boil over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping down the sides of the pan. You may cover the jam early in the process to speed up the cooking, but be warned: The mixture is VERY prone to boiling over, so you will want to watch it closely and take the cover off when the jam is boiling well.

4.  Cook until one or more of the following tests shows the jam has jelled:
  • A thermometer reads 215 to 220 degrees
  • A few drops of the jam on a chilled plate will keep their shape when you run your finger through the center
  • The jam "sheets" off the spoon
My preference in all of these is the cold plate test. Especially with this much apple, the jam will be quite stiff if you wait all the way to the 220 degree level.

5.  While the jam is cooking, wash jars and lids well and place the jars upside down in a pan with an inch or two of water in it. Turn this on a low heat so that the water is just simmering.

6. To process the jam, you will need a "water bath" or other large kettle or pot that is big enough to hold the jars AND have water at least an inch above the tops of the jars when they are processing. Fill this pan at least half full of water and begin heating it, also while the jam is cooking. (Yes, three burners all going at once. It will make you feel like a real home preserver!)



Side note:  Other equipment that will be handy to have: a wide-mouthed "canning funnel," tongs to lift the lids from the hot water, a mug for scooping the jam into the jars (I prefer this over a ladle, but that will do too), and a jar lifter to get the hot jars in and out of the water. If you don't have one of these, you can still make jam, but you will probably want to have a ladle handy to take some of the water off of the jars when they are done. You will then be able to use a hot pad to grab out the jars above the water line.

6.  When the jam is finished cooking, turn the heat off and stir the jam again. The apples have a tendency to come to the top of this mixture all through the cooking process, so you will want to continue stirring as you begin putting the jam in the jars. Using a clean cloth, wipe the jar rims to be sure there is no jam there to impair a tight seal all around.

7.  Put the lids and rings on; while you want the covers closed, don't tighten too much at this stage.
Place the jars in the pot of boiling water, making sure you have enough to cover the jars to about an inch above the tops. (I like to have a tea kettle of water heating at the side, just in case there isn't enough water in the pot to cover. If you end up with too much water, you can just ladle a little out. It really can be a little tricky to decide how much water to heat until you have the jars actually in the pot!)

8.  For half pint or pint jars, bring the water back to boiling and set the timer for 10 minutes. When the time is complete, remove the jars from the water and place on a wood board (to prevent major temperature changes that could break the boiling hot jars). Allow to cool completely before labeling and storing.

With modern canning lids, you will hear a cheery click each time one seals, and you can test if a jar is sealed by pressing lightly on the center. It will not spring back up if sealed. Any jars that do not seal can be refrigerated and used within the next few weeks.

One final step:  After you have scraped the pan, the spoon, and the cup that served as a ladle, there still will be some wonderfully fresh jam left. Scoop some plain yogurt into the cup and stir with the jam spoon. Instant raspberry yogurt, a treat for the hard working cook!












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