I love making jams, as it’s the perfect way to preserve the summer and cheer me up when I’m fed up with short and dark winter days. Especially the apple-cinnamon combination is one of my favourites as it reminds me of cosy winter evenings, all snuggled up at home with one of my mum’s delicious apple strudels. Opening an apple jam jar, spreading some butter over freshly toasted bread and adding a big dollop of apple jam on top, is a quick fix for my sweet tooth as well as comfort.
When asking around friends if they had any windfall apples for my apple jam, I was surprised that none of them have had or heard of apple jam before. I was shocked as I live in Somerset, England known for its apple orchards, cider and abundance of apples.
I quickly realised, I had a problem. I couldn’t get the same preserving sugar in the UK as I used in Germany which allows much fruitier, less sugary jams with a ratio of 3:1 fruit (3kg fruit and 1kg sugar/106 oz fruit and 35 oz sugar). I’m fully aware the sugar is needed to preserve the jam, but I’m not very keen on sugary jams as I can only taste the sugar and no fruit. So I’ve been experimenting. I haven’t managed to achieve the 3:1 ratio yet but at least it’s more towards 1.5:1 fruit ratio and VERY delicious.
The apple jam will definitely keep for a year but to be honest, I always finish mine before the next batch is due the next year.
If you have many apples, don’t try making loads of apple jam in one go as you’ll get fed up with pealing and chopping the apples as well as the measure might not work anymore. The jam will become brown, not very appetising, as the lime won’t stop it from browning if left uncooked for very long.
I always hide one or two jars in the cupboard as the apple jam is perfect for pepping up other deserts, particular in winter, such as panna cotta or Bavarian cream.
Apple Jam Ingredients:
Source: Own recipe
Preparation Time: 30-45 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-45 minutes
Keeps for 1-2 years
- 1.2kg/42 oz eating or cooking apples (pealed, cored and cubed)
- 900g/32 oz sugar
- 300ml/10 fl oz apple juice
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- One shot of rum
- 75ml/g/2.5 fl oz pectin extract/Certo (if required)
You will also need:
- 6-8x 200ml/approx. 5.5 oz jars & twist tops or terrine jars
- Waxed paper discs (for terrine jars only)
- Jam funnel
- Large pan
- Wooden Spoon
- Oven gloves
Apple Jam Preparation
1. Put a couple of saucers in the fridge for the set test later on.
2. Wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water, rinse and turn upside down to drain. Dry with a clean kitchen towel and place in a baking tray ready for later (it’s too early to pop them in the oven at this stage as sterilising only takes 10 minutes and the jars have to be warm and not hot at filling time).
3. When using terrine jars, wash as above but remove the rubber seals and wash and dry separately. Only place the jars and attached lid into the baking tray as the seal would melt in the oven during the sterilising process.
Tip: If you aren’t sure how to sterilise jars, take a look at the damson plum jam recipe where everything is explained in detail.
4. Prepare the sirup by bringing the apple juice, sugar and cinnamon sticks to boil in a large pan and cook on high for about 10 minutes, until it thickens and becomes golden.
Tip: Normally I like to macerate my fruit for 2-3 hours or even over night (mix fruit up with sugar and leave to rest), as it helps bring out all the juices and pectin, contributing to a better flavour and set. Apples will brown if left to rest for too long, even if lime or lemon juice is added. Preparing a sirup helps reduce the cooking time of the apples, keeping them in shape while improving the flavour and ensuring it sets.
5. In the meantime, juice the limes and keep in a bowl or cup.
6. While the sirup is boiling, peal, core and cube 2-3 apples at a time, and add some lime juice to stop the apples from browning. Repeat the process and make sure you’ve got 1.2kg/42 oz in total.
7. Once the sirup has become golden, add the apples and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and bring to a “rolling boil” for 2-3 minutes on a high temperature.
8. Turn the heat down and let the apples simmer gently for about 15 minutes.
Tip: Don’t over-boil or over-stir the jam, as the aim is to preserve the fruit and not boil it down to a mushy consistency.
9. Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F.
10. Once about half of the apples have become translucent, sieve the fruit and put aside, while the sirup is returned to boil on its own on a high temperature for another 10-15 minutes, until it has halved in quantity and has thickened even more.
Tip: Make sure you use oven gloves as the sirup is VERY hot and can scorch you.
11. While the apple sirup is boiling, place the jam jars in the oven and sterilise for approximately 10 minutes.
12. Return the apples to the sirup and gently boil for another 10 minutes. Make a set test (see tip below), making sure you remove the pan from the heat first. If it is still too liquid, boil for another 2-3 minutes and repeat the set test.
Tip: Place one teaspoon of boiling jam on one of the cooled saucers. Put back in the freezer for 2-3 minutes until it’s completely cooled. Push the apple jam from one side to the other with your finger. If it leaves a clean trail and the jam wrinkles, it’s done.
13. Another sign that the jam is done is when the majority of the fruit is translucent and the apple jam isn’t liquid anymore. If the jam has the right consistency but doesn’t want to set, turn the heat off, move it off the heat and add the pectin extract (Certo) and don’t boil any longer.
Tip: Apples are normally high in pectin which causes jams to set when mixed with sugar and don’t require extra pectin (pectin extract Certo is made of apples). As in this recipe less sugar is used and the apples aren’t boiled for very long, sometimes a little additional pectin extract needs to be added to ensure it sets.
14. Remove the sterilised jars from the oven, wearing oven gloves and place on a tidy surface.
15. Once you’re happy with the consistency of your apple jam, take it off the heat, remove the cinnamon sticks and add if you want a shot of rum. You won’t taste it but I like adding it as I believe it contributes to a better preservation of the jam.
16. Now you’re ready for bottling your little treasure. No matter if you use screw twist tops or terrine jars, both should be still warm but not hot.
17. Put on your oven gloves and attach the rubber seals if terrine jars are used.
18. In both cases it’s important to fill the jar while the jam is still very hot.
19. Place a jam funnel on top of the jar and ladle in the jam. If you don’t have a jam funnel use a glass jug instead.
20. Make sure you don’t overfill the jar or drip any jam onto the glass rim. It has to be clean to ensure the twist top or terrine jars can seal correctly. Additionally, splatters encourage mould growth which can be avoided by immediately removing any spills with a clean kitchen towel.
21. Please use oven gloves to avoid any burns when screwing on the lids tightly.
22. When using screw-on-lids, immediately turn the jar upside-down to ensure it forms a vacuum seal. Turn back after 5 minutes as otherwise the jam will get hard and won’t slide back, creating a gap at the bottom. This won’t affect the quality of the jam but just doesn’t look as nice.
If terrine jars are used, I recommend to use waxed disc (wax side down). It’s not vital but I found it stops condensation drops from collecting on top of the jar after the jam has cooled down. Again, it’s more aesthetics than necessity.
23. Label and date your jars and keep in a dark and dry spot.
24. The jam will keep for 1-2 years. Once opened, store in the fridge for several weeks.
- Spiced Apple Cider Recipe (abeautifulmess.typepad.com)
- Pick fruit to make jam, jelly and gin (telegraph.co.uk)