Thursday, December 17, 2009

Marmaladey Apple Jam.

I found this recipe last night, when I was trying to figure out what to do with a giant back of pie apples that had not been turned into a pie. We leave Saturday and I'm going to be gone for almost a month, so a pie or anything that needs to be consumed soon was out.

For the most part I followed the recipe, but I did do a few things differently. Here is what I did.

From Just Hungry:

  • For every 1 lb /450g of peeled, cut up apple -
  • 11-13oz / about 320g-370g sugar - more if you have sour apples, less if you have sweet
  • 1 whole lemon, organic/unwaxed
My version:

3lbs apples
1 32oz bag of brown sugar
2 unwaxed lemons,  juice and rind
2.5 unwaxed limes,  juice and rind (I had half a lime in the fridge that I wanted to use up)

I peeled the apples, then chopped them in quarters, then chopped the core out then cut the quarters in half. I rinsed them and then put them in a pot with the lemon and lime juice and the sugar. I let that sit for half an hour, with some stirring, as directed. The sugar draws out liquid from the apples and that liquid, along with the juice and sugar, became a beautiful brown syrup. I then turned on a medium low heat, still stirring occasionally, to make sure there was no burning. I brought gradually up to a boil and kept it boiling until it reached 220 degrees F. It doesn't mention this in the original recipe, but I wanted to make sure it would set. I've heard of the metal spoon method and the cold saucer method, and I try these each time, so that I can get a feel for what to look for in case I ever make jam and don't have a thermometer handy, but I still prefer the thermometer method. That way, if it doesn't set, I can say, "I don't understand, it certainly got hot enough!" instead of doubting myself on whether or not the jam was really moving in sheets down the back of the spoon. I never use pectin so this is sort of crucial. I'm not sure why the original recipe doesn't talk about this, but perhaps the 4 hours of recommended simmering would help ensure that the jam will set. After it started boiling, I added lemon and lime zest and chunks of rind, instead of tossing in the whole juiced lemon half. I turned it down and let it simmer for about 2 hours. It started tasting really, really delicious at some point along the way, so I pulled down my jam jars and sterilised them in boiling water, along with my metal ladle, my tongs and the jar lids. Oh and a spatula.

The jam was set perfectly this morning and I just had a piece on toast. It's got all the lovely bitterness of marmalade and all the sweetness of apple. Definitely one of the better preserves I've had.

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