Saturday, October 31, 2015

A couple of weeks ago I came across this recipe for Caramel Apple Jam.  Those of you who know me know that I am a freak for caramel.  Not the chewy kind but the melt in your mouth buttery kind.  I tucked away the recipe thinking, “Christmas presents.”

I was in Brodhead, Wisconsin recently and stopped by the local produce market.  They had the usual pumpkins, potatoes and apples.  I purchased a nice looking bag of Mackintosh apples.  I wanted a little tart to my jam so I got two Granny Smith apples to add.

The recipe called for three pounds of apples.  I took the bag to my bathroom scale and weighed it.  Two pounds.  I took it upstairs to the better scale and that scale wouldn’t register it at all.  Confound it!

I decided that the bag and the two big Granny Smiths were about three pounds.  I got out the food processor that wouldn’t die (thank you again Diane) and went to work.  I did one apple at a time and sprinkled it with lemon juice.  (The recipe didn’t call for it but I added it because a little lemon juice adds to everything.)  I didn’t want my apples to turn brown while I was prepping more apples.

The recipe called for half cup of water and half teaspoon of butter.  Seemed like so little liquid for so many apples.  I ended up with half a big pot of apples.  I wanted to cook them today so I could make the jam at a later date.  Again this is why I added the lemon juice.

I realized that the recipe called for dry powdered fruit pectin and I only had the liquid stuff.  I got it the next day when I was in town.

Yesterday, I settled down to making Caramel Apple Jam.   Before I started, I admit I did add a couple of tablespoons of water.  I got my jars all ready to go into the washer.  I had forgotten that my sink had gone on the fritz a couple of days ago and I couldn’t use the kitchen faucet to get the water hot to start the dishwasher.

I ran the hot water in the bathroom next door hoping that would get the water hot.  It did not.  I had to boil water to dump the jars into before I used them.  At least they were clean.  Things like this put me in awe of women in our past who used to can hundreds of jars of food with no running water and no range in the kitchen.  Just the old wood stove and their practical knowledge.

I did notice in my pot that the Granny Smiths had not turned very brown but were still quite white.  Note to self and on the recipe for future use.  Maybe try all Granny Smiths with just a couple of Macks.

The process went well.  The jam came out lovely and all of my jars sealed.  The person who wrote the recipe said they got six jars and a little extra.  I got two pints, five jelly jar sized jars and two squatty jelly jars and a little leftover.  I figure that is about 98 ounces of jam, which is about six pints and a little left over.

I am planning to save my little jams and surprise some folks at Christmas (holiday) time.

PS  The hubster and I had some on vanilla ice cream after dinner last night.  He gave me a thumbs up.  It was very tasty.  I include the recipe:

Caramel Apple Jam
6 cups apples, diced and peeled (1/8 inch cubes, roughly – this takes about three pounds of whole apples)
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon butter
1 package (1.75 ounces) powdered fruit pectin
2 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Peeling and dicing the apples is really easy if you have an apple peeler/corer/slicer, something we found at a yard sale a few years ago for $1. You just stick the apple on it, turn the handle (easy enough my three year old daughter can do it), and the device peels the apple, removes the core, and puts a big spiral slice in that apple.
After that, you just have to chop the apple in the opposite direction to get the nice small pieces you need for the jam.
In a pan, combine the apples with the 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon butter. Cook this over low heat for an hour or so, stirring regularly, until the apples are soft.
At first, it will seem impossible that these dry-seeming apples and this little bit of water will ever combine with all of that sugar to make any kind of liquid jam. What will happen is that slowly, the apples will begin to give off liquid and, as the apples get soft, you’ll have about as much liquid as apple in the pan.
When the apples are getting soft, you should get the boiling pot going. Put a towel on the bottom, then add water until your jars would be covered by two inches. Turn on the heat and get the water boiling!
Once the apples are nice and soft (use your own judgment – you don’t want them to be really crisp in the jam, after all, but some soft chunks are delicious), add the pectin, stir it in, then bring the whole mix up to a rolling boil.
Then, add the sugar. This is a fun part, because it all becomes a very thick liquid as you stir it. Bring it back to a rolling boil (and be careful here, it can splatter). Stir it constantly and let it boil for one minute.
Remove the jam from the heat, then add the jam to the jars with a spoon until there’s a quarter of an inch between the top of the jam and the top of the jar. Clean off the rim of the jar, put a lid on it, then put a ring on top of that, turning the ring until you just begin to feel resistance. Repeat until you’re out of jam (we made six jars, with a bit left over to have immediately on toast).
Take these closed jars and put them in the big pot of boiling water. Keep the water boiling and leave the jars in there for ten minutes, then pull them out. Put the jars on a towel with a couple inches free space around each jar. Let the jars sit for 24 hours to cool and make sure after the cooling that the lids are depressed (meaning if you push down in the middle, it doesn’t “click” – if it does, the jar needs to go).
And there you have it – wonderful jars of delicious apple jam!


  1. I am saving that recipe! Although, I'm not sure whether or not I'll ever make it.
    You know I've never done my own canning? When I was a kid, my Mom used to make blackberry freezer jam, and it was soooo yummy. But I've never done it myself! Everyone (i.e. your daughter) keeps telling me how easy it is to make your own pickles/jelly/preserved fruits/etc. But then I look at all the equipment I'd have to buy, and the whole process of boiling and cooling and sealing and the tongs and the temperature monitoring and...and...yeah. I think it's easy once you've done it a few times, but jumping in the first time is pretty damn daunting.

    So...I have never wanted to be on somebody's Christmas list this badly!!!

  2. I will keep my eye out for stuff for you.