Saturday, November 6, 2010

Caramel Apple Jam

We picked a lot of apples this year. Although it has taken me a while to take care of them, I finally was able to get them turned into apple sauce! Making applesauce is honestly probably the easiest thing, I don't know why more people don't do it rather than buying the corn syrup laden jars in the grocery store!

I used a food mill, which I borrowed from my wonderful, generous, beautiful sister. All I had to do was cut my apples in half, steam them until they were soft, and put them through the mill. applesauce came out one end, seeds and skins out the other. It took about an hour for me to do all three bushels of apples that were waiting to be cooked.

If you don't have a food mill, there are a couple of extra steps required. Peel, core, and slice the apples. You can find apple slicers/corers in most stores for $5-20, and I think it is well worth the investment. Especially if your kid is a fruit-lover! Steam the apples until they are soft and put them in a food processor, or mash them with a potato masher or large fork.

voila, applesauce! If you like chunky applesauce, and are using a food mill, you can make the majority of your applesauce with the food mill, saving tons of time, then make the chunks as described above, to add to the food milled apples.

As Evelyn gets closer to eating solids, I am looking forward to having apple puree to give to her, so I did not add any sugar or spices. I will add all of that right before serving it to my family, that way the applesauce remains versatile and I can use it for bland baby food or family food with a bit of flare. I will be preparing the pears that a friend gave to me from her tree, in the same way. This way, Evie can enjoy foods that were picked and preserved in season, while they were ripe and full of nutrients.

But there is only so much applesauce a family can handle. So here is another recipe that I am going to be using my apple and pear purees for. If you want to use pears, just substitute the apples for pears cup for cup. And yes, that was me you saw licking the canning funnel when we were done! This spread is absolutely decadent if you like apple and spice flavors!

This recipe was inspired by one I found on allrecipes.

Caramel Apple Jam:
5 cups applesauce
1 cup apple cider
1 package pectin
2 cups brown sugar
3 cups sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

In a bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix with a fork until ingredients are even throughout.

In a large saucepan, combine applesauce and cider. Slowly mix in the pectin and bring mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. If you begin to see brown specks, you are burning the applesauce; turn down your heat.

When the apple and pectin mixture are boiling and you cannot stir the bubbles away, add the full amount of sugar and spice mixture while stirring. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one full minute.

Ladle into jars, and follow the manufacturer's instructions for placing the lids on the jars. Process in a hot water bath for ten minutes (15 minutes for higher altitudes)

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