Jamming Through Apple Season

In the grocery stores and farmers’ markets, apples abound and greet you tucked in just beyond the piles of pumpkins promising the cooler temperatures of autumn. If I could bottle autumn to enjoy year-round, I would. Since I can, I did preserve a little autumn flair this week. My canner has been regrettably in storage through more of the summer than I’d intended, but I made a valiant attempt to rectify that slip this week.

I poured through my canning books, decided on a few recipes, and purchased 40 pounds of local Gala apples. I’m quite pleased with the results.

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Apple-Maple Jam 

When I read the title of this recipe, I may have thought, Take my money! Except, I found the recipe itself baffling for its lack of pectin and its call for six cups of sugar and maple syrup. Normally, I use Pomona’s Universal Pectin because I am a large fan of its ease of use and its reliability in making quality low-sugar jams. So I pinch-hit, called up the Pomona’s jamline (new dream job?), and modified recipes to make my own low-sugar apple-maple-jam magic. The jam may not be as sweet as intended, but it’s delicious with just the right hint of maple.

Applesauce 

I routinely make applesauce whenever my grocery store has multiple pounds of apples available in the bargain bin, but I also like to keep a stock of canned applesauce available for eating and cooking throughout the year. I usually add a little sugar to the spiced applesauce, but I otherwise leave the applesauce unsweetened. Although the apples did not come from my own orchard (we’re a few years away from that yet), I like to think I know better what goes into my food when I make it myself. It sure tastes better too!

Apple Butter 

Apple butter is a labor of love. The apples cook and cook and cook, and the house smells sweeter and spicier than a scented candle. I started making apple butter several hours ago, and it still hasn’t cooked down sufficiently to “round up” on my spoon whenever I test it. Yet, it’s an autumn treat worthy of the time required for the butter to simmer while you work on other things around the house, like writing a blog post.

I saved time and a significant amount of wrist pain by purchasing an apple peeler/corer/slicer contraption. After cutting 40 pounds of apples, I can heartily recommend it.

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