Lots of great pickle recipes came from this group, and jams, oh the jams. So many variations on the common, unspecial single fruit jams. Whether it was a combination of fruits or the simple addition of an unexpected herb or spice (like the jars of Apple Sage Jelly I use to glaze pork with), I discovered so many wonderful flavors. It was kind of like an online canning class !
One of the earliest recipes I learned was Linda Lou's Apple Pie Jam. While I don't recall ever seeing a jar of her jam I set out to make my own. I learned a few mistakes- #1- not dicing the apple into small enough bits. I ended up with big chunks of apple floating at the top of the appley yummy jelly. Easy to fix by stirring it all back down when you open it but less than desirable when you look at the jars in the cabinet. #2- Don't rush. It's always better to have a canning project take all day than cram multiple projects into one day- especially jam and jelly making. #3- use quality ingredients and follow the directions EXACTLY. Especially important if you're using a recipe calling for pectin. Powder and liquid are used in very different ways and at different times in the cooking process. #4 Prep all your ingredients before you turn on the heat. Chop everything. Measure everything. Have it all within arms reach. When you're making jam you will be doing a lot of stirring. You cannot risk taking the time to measure out sugar while your fruit mixture is scorching in the pot.
As I mentioned above, I probably should have chopped the apple up MUCH smaller. Maybe I assumed it would break down more. It did not. I followed the directions exactly, same proportions, but I seemed to have alot less apple than liquid. It tastes good, maybe it will settle and improve as it cools and settles in the jars... we'll see. (and again, it did not- the fruit stayed at the top) But if not it will be a lovely pancake or waffle syrup by warming it up a little to melt.
So let's get started with a pretty easy and definitely delicious jam. Just remember- chop that apple FINE !!
APPLE PIE JAM
4 cups tart apples, peeled and finely chopped
2 tb lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
4 cups sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 box pectin
1/2 tsp butter
Add water to chopped apples to measure 4 cups. Place in large heavy saucepan, stir in lemon juice, spices and pectin. Add butter. Bring to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
Quickly stir in both sugars, bring to full rolling boil, boil one minute. Remove from heat, skim off any foam, ladle into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath 10 minutes.
****** I have taste-tested one jar that didn't seal and it's really very delicious ! I stirred the apple pieces back down into the jelled liquid and it's just fine. It even stayed well mixed afterwards. Next time I make this (and I will !!) I will very very finely dice the apple or possibly shred it using a large shredding disk on the food processor and really pack it into the measure to get more apple into the jam.