I’m on a ginger kick, lately. I have to put it in just about everything! So, when I found this recipe for Apple Ginger Jam, and the Cosmic Cowgirl announced that the Can Jam theme this month would be Apples, Pears, and Quinces, the stars aligned once again!
(adapted from Clearly Delicious – An Illustrated Guide to Preserving, Pickling & Bottling by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz)
2-1/2 lbs. cooking apples (I used the venerable Granny Smith)
2 large lemons
2 tsp. ground ginger
3 cups water
5 cups sugar
1/4 cup chopped candied ginger (or more to taste)
Place a couple of small dishes in the freezer.
Peel, core, and coarsely chop the apples, reserving the peels and cores. Put the peels and cores in some cheesecloth or another clean cloth and set aside, then put the fruit into a large saucepan.
Finely grate the zest of the lemons, using a Microplane or similar grater, then juice the lemons and add the zest and juice to the pot (I added the juiced lemon “shells” to the cloth, too), along with the ground ginger and water. Now tie up the cloth “bag” and add that to the pot, as well. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Remove the cloth “bag”, squeezing as much of the juices out of it as you can, add the sugar to the pot, and stir till completely dissolved. Bring back to a rapid boil and continue to cook without stirring for an additional 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat and do a gel test by putting a little of the liquid on one of the frozen plates and return to the freezer for 2 minutes. If the liquid wrinkles when you push it with your fingernail or the tip of a spoon, you’re ready to jar up. If the liquid remains runny, return the pot to the heat, bring back up to a boil and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Repeat the test and then repeat cooking/testing if necessary.
After removing from the heat finally, stir in the chopped crystallized ginger.
Fill sterilized jars with the hot jam, cover with appropriately prepared lids and rings, tightened finger-tight, and process in a boiling water canner for 5 minutes (adjusted for altitude).
You know the rest of the drill by now: Remove the hot jars to a towel or newspaper-covered surface, listen for the pinging of your seals, and check the seals in 24 hours to make sure everything is kosher.
It’s a bit tricky to get that bag of stuff out of that boiling hot pot and then squeeze the juices out, and do it safely. I have a colander that fits perfectly over the rim of the pot I used. When I lifted the bag out of the pot with a pair of tongs, I slipped the colander under it and put it in there. Then I took a sturdy wooden spoon and smooshed the bejeebers out of it, so everything went directly back into the pot, and Look, Ma! No burns! If you have a pair of those silicone waterproof oven mitts, you could probably just squeeze it with your hands. But the colander method worked for me.
Oh. Em. Gee. I can’t believe how good this stuff turned out! I want to eat it on toast, I want to eat it with cheese, I even wanted to figure out how to put it in other stuff! In fact, I did mix it with softened cream cheese, slapped it between two squares of puff pastry, and drizzled some dulce de leche over it to make one darned decadent dessert: Apple Cream Napoleons with Dulce de Leche. Talk about over the top! I am so glad there are seven more jars of this stuff waiting for me… I might just make another batch!
Okay – what’s next?