Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Canning with Grandma: Caramel Apple Jam

My backyard at home  
Due to my low-budget lifestyle I am making canned goods for Christmas presents this year.  Hopefully no one reads this, and finds out their Christmas present early! So far I have 6 pint-sized mason jars with bread and butter zucchini pickles.  So the next thing I decided to do was make a sweeter treat, like jam.  Luckily, I went home to the beautiful Sonoma Valley for a few days, and there I utilized the bounty of the harvest in my own back yard.  My family enjoys gardening so I can find anything from habaneros to raspberries there.  Basically our backyard at home is a small farm.  

I used about ten pounds of granny smith apples, a ton of sugar, and an 85 year-old woman to successfully make 12 half-pint sized jars of carmel apple jam. The jam has more of a apple pie filling flavor than carmel apple, but who wouldn't want to wake up and eat apple pie on toast?

Caramel Apple Jam (makes 12 8oz jars, plus a little extra)

18 cups of diced, peeled, granny smith apples
1 cup water 
1 Tb butter
2 (1.75oz) packages of Pectin
6 cups white sugar
8 cups brown sugar
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg. 

Wash jars, and place jar, mouth side up on a baking sheet.  Place in oven, bake jars at 275 until jam is prepared. Place lids in a sauce pan with water, cook over medium heat until it starts to boil, then turn to low or off, lids need to be very hot when put on the jars.  Begin to heat a large dutch oven, or large pot filled with at least 6 inches of water (enough to fully submerge standing jars).

In a large pot, combine apples, water and butter over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  The apples are going to soften and lose quite a bit of water.   Once the apples are soft, add pectin and bring the mixture to a boil, this is an important step to set the pectin.  Add sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and allow the mixture to boil again, stirring constantly.  If the mixture appears a little watery allow it to boil for about 5 minutes so more water is lost.

Using a wide-mouth funnel ladle hot jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 headspace.  Make sure that the mouth of the jar is jam-free! If there is jam present, wipe it off with a wet paper towel, then place hot lids on jars and seal with the outer ring, somewhat tightly.  Once the jars are shut place them in the dutch oven full of water.  Boil the jars for ten minutes, then remove from the water and allow the jars to seal.  

Enjoy it on some sourdough toast, a personal favorite.  

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