This weekend we still had apples left from apple picking. They really needed to be used or thrown out, so I made jam. It was my first time, and I almost talked myself out of it because it seemed intimidating to sterilize jars, and I have heard so many stories of my mom’s friends trying to make jam and having it turn out way too runny. As with everything kitchen related though, you just have to do a little research and follow instructions, and it turns out to be perfectly simple. We also had some prunes left from making plum cake, so I combined the two fruits and added some spices. It’s great for afternoon tea with scones, especially when it’s cold outside.
Spiced Apple-Plum Jam
Fresh prunes, cut in half and de-stoned
Apples, peeled, cored and cut into pieces
How much fruit you use really depends on how much you want to peel and chop. I don’t peel the plums, because it’s a royal pain in the butt, and because I think the skins add a little texture to the finished product that’s perfectly good. I used about 1/3 plums and 2/3 apples, which is a good ratio for a firmer consistency jam.
For every 2 lbs of fruit, I used:
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 cup of sugar or more (this depends on how sweet you like it, and you just have to taste it as it cooks)
I put everything in a big pot and let it cook down, on low heat, stirring occasionally. I had some pectin handy, but it turned out that I didn’t need it. The jam came out the consistency of chunky apple sauce, so it was fine. If you like it a little firmer, you could add some pectin, following the instructions on the package.
While the jam cooks, wash the jars well and put them in the oven at 235 degrees for 20 minutes. Leave them in the oven, so that they are hot when you put in the jam (this will prevent the glass from cracking). Wipe any jam from the rims and then screw the lids on tightly.
This is all I did. I let everything cool and then refrigerated the jam.
If you are making a huge amount and are worried about spoilage, you can submerge the filled jam jars in boiling water for 5 minutes. I only made 3 jars, which I knew were getting eaten soon, so I didn’t bother.