06 September 2019

APPLE CINNAMON JAM

Early September means that autumn is almost here, and chilly mornings call for toast, jam, and strong coffee. Apples are in season, and they are abundant and perfect for jam-making.
As we prefer slightly tarter apples, I used a combination of Granny Smith, Golden delicious, and a variety of local wild apples, haphazardly growing alongside fields and meadows. I love them and how sour they are, yet become delightfully sweet when cooked down.
When picking apples for your jam, or any fruit for that matter, choose the ripest ones, because they will yield the best and most fragrant jam. It does not matter if they have a spot or two, or if they have fallen off the tree on their own and got a little bruised. They will be just as sweet and delicious.
Apples are very safe when it comes to jam-making, as they are naturally high in pectin and break down easily when cooked. You only need a solid pot, apples, a little bit of sugar, and some time and patience for this jam to come together into a wonderful aromatic autumn treat.
After that, all that is left to do is to brew some strong coffee, make some toast, slather on this aromatic jam, and enjoy it fully on a chilly morning.


Ingredients
1.5 kilograms tart apples
800 grams granulated sugar
400 ml cold water
2 large organic lemons
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Preparation
Start by juicing one whole large lemon and placing the juice into a large bowl. Peel, core and coarsely chop the apples, toss them with the fresh lemon juice and set aside. Take a large deep heavy-bottomed pot, place it over medium heat and pour in the water, then tip in all of the sugar. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil, and let it boil for 5 minutes. Wash the second lemon well, then slice it into thin slices, and remove the pips.
After the syrup is cooked, add in the apples and lemon slices, sprinkle the cinnamon over them, and let it come to a boil again. Once the mixture is boiling, cook while occasionally gently stirring, for about 20-25 minutes or until the jam has reached 105ºC (220ºF), and has set.
While it is best to clip a thermometer to the side of the pot while the jam is cooking, because it can reach the setting point much earlier than 20 minutes, you can also test it to see if the jam is set and ready by placing a small amount of it on a chilled plate. Wait for it to cool down, then slightly tilt the plate. If it doesn’t move, or it slides very slowly, it should be done. You can gently touch the surface, too – it should slightly wrinkle.
At this point, you have the option to completely purée the jam, to make it smooth, or you can leave it with bits of fruit, like I prefer it. Remove the pot from the heat, add in the vanilla and mix well. Let it cool down for about 5 minutes, and then carefully pour it into prepared jars. Store it in a cool and dark place. Yields 1 kilogram of jam.

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