In my search for ways to use the many apples I received as a gift from a couple of good friends this month, I found this recipe in a blog called Local Kitchen. I made a little adjustment (using lime instead of lemon juice and adding a bit more of it) and it turned out quite delicious! I brought a jar to my friend’s house for brunch last week and it didn’t matter to them that we weren’t having any toast, they just popped it open, spread it on some pancakes and immediately declared it delicious… mission accomplished! 😉 This will make enough preserve to fill 5 250 ml. jars and leave a little bit extra for you to try while it’s still warm.
1 and 1/2 cups of organic apple juice
Juice of 1 lime (freshly squeezed, about 2-3 tablespoons)
3 pounds of apples (about 10 small-medium apples)
4 slices of fresh, peeled ginger
1 pinch of salt
2 cups of sugar
Zest of 1 lemon, grated
5 250 ml jam jars, washed with hot soapy water and placed in a 250 degree oven for at least 1 hour to sterilize -leave them in the oven at that temperature until ready to use
5 sets of lids and screw bands, placed in boiling water and kept in hot water until ready to use
1 medium to large pot to cook the preserve in, and a wooden spoon -ideally only used to make jam/preserves
1 canning funnel, canning tongs and a ladle
1 extra-large pot, with a round cooling rack placed on the bottom, and filled with boiling water, ready for the filled jam jars to go in -this pot should be big enough to allow the jam jars to be covered with the boiling water about 2 inches above the lid or more
In a large bowl combine the apple and lime juice. Wash and scrub the apples well, rinse and then proceed to core and quarter them (I use this wonderful apple divider, what a helpful little contraption!). You don’t need to peel the apples, but you may want to remove any bruised or discolored portions. Throw the apple quarters in the bowl as you go and toss with the juices to prevent some of the browning that occurs naturally. Chop the apple into smaller pieces and then proceed to process in batches in a blender (I don’t have a food processor, but if you do, I’d say that’s your weapon of choice for this one). Just put in a handful at a time and pulse 5 or 6 times. You want to end up with very finely chopped apples.
Throw the apple bits, along with any remaining apple and lime juice, in a large pot, add the ginger slices and salt, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let this cook for about 15 minutes. Then raise the heat again to medium-high and add the sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time, stirring to combine. Add the grated lemon zest, turn the heat to low and let simmer for 10 more minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the ginger slices and discard.
Now that the preserve is ready, take the jars out of the oven with tongs, place them over a clean, dry towel on a flat surface, and use the ladle and canning funnel to fill each one (jars can be filled up to about 2 mm from their border). Use a clean, moist towel to gently wipe the tops of the jars to make sure they are clean. Use tongs to retrieve the lids and screw bands out of the hot water, cover each jar with a lid and then close with the screw band (no need to close super tight). Take the canning tongs and place each jar into the extra-large pot with boiling water, making sure they’re upright and preferably not touching each other. Cover the pot and let boil for 10 minutes, then take the jars out with the canning tongs and place on a clean, dry towel on a flat surface away from cold drafts and let rest for 24 hours. You should hear the lids pop shortly after you take them out of the boiling water, which indicates that the canning process was a success and your preserve is sealed properly. Also, if you press the lids after the jam is cooled, they should not give or make any noise. If you get a jar that was not sealed properly, simply put in the fridge once cooled and consume first.