So, lately, I've been spending my evenings torturing myself by either flipping through seed catalogs (aka "Garden Porn"), or reading my Ball Blue-Book of Canning.
Neither activity is particularly "Seasonally Appropriate!" But I did stumble across a very tasty-sounding couple-of recipes that involved Cranberries and Apples. Yummmm!!!
Now I am an absolute FIEND when it comes to "Sweet 'n Sour" flavor combos. ESPECIALLY Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam (which, clearly, ain't happ'nin' anytime soon!). So Cranberry+Apple sounded *most* intriguing!
And, happily, our grocery stores *do* still have fresh cranberries. On "Manager's Special" even @ $0.99/bag. So I bought four bags! (only needed a bag-and-a-half for this recipe and, honestly, probably could've gotten away with using just one!)
But, alas, I think I'm finding that these "Fruity" kinds of jams *can't* be canned in my pressure-canner. But, I suppose that's okay 'cuz I've still got my [questionably] Trusty Old Steam Canner...
I did opt to surf the 'net to find a suitable recipe. And I found one on SimpleGoodAndTasty.com, here: http://simplegoodandtasty.com/2011/11/21/cranberry-apple-jam-and-the-last-of-canning-season
I pretty-much stuck with her recipe, with only a few minor tweaks, which I will capture here:
Simple Good & Tasty's Cranberry Apple Jam (with QT's low-sugar mods)
Adapted from Food in Jars
Yields 7 half-pints + 1 12 oz. jar
- 8 C Apples, chopped into 3/4" chunks (I'd go with 1/2", next time) (and - BTW - appx 12 medium Granny Smiths = 8 cups, chopped. In case you were wondering!)
- 4 C. fresh cranberries (rinsed and remove any squishy gnarly ones)
- 1/2 C dried, sweetened cranberries (Craisins) (My addition!)
- 2 C packed golden brown sugar
- 1-1/2 C Splenda (orig recipe just called for 4 C sugar)
- 1 C. water
- 2 sticks of cinnamon (orig recipe called for 1 tsp).
- ½ C. lemon juice
- Start heating a small qty of water in the bottom of your canner and toss the lids in there to warm up. Your jars, of course, should already be sterilized (I used the "Sterilize/Heated Dry" Cycle on my dishwasher)
- Peel, core and chop your apples into 1/2" chunks (I used my Handy-Dandy Apple-Peeler Thingamabobbie and my new Oxo Apple Corer).
- Toss 'em in a pot-full of cold water with a generous squeeze of lemon juice (so they won't turn brown while you're still peeling and chopping!).
- Cranberries: Rinse and remove any stems and/or squishy cranberries
- When your apples and cranberries are Good-To-Go, toss 'em in a large heavy-bottomed pot. Add sugar, water and lemon juice to the pot.
- I ran out of ground cinnamon, so I mostly-crushed 2 sticks of cinnamon, wrapped 'em in cheesecloth and tossed that into the pot (Heh! Don't forget to remove it!).
- Over medium-high heat, mix everything well and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn heat down to medium and continue to cook appx 5-10 mins.
- Turn heat to low, toss in your Craisins, and let it simmer 'til the apples start to shrink a bit, the mixture reaches a deep crimson color and achieves a "jammy" thick texture. This actually took awhile (like ~ 45 mins, I think!). You're relying on the natural pectin in the apples and cranberries to provide the jammy-ness - so I'm guessing the time will vary from batch-to-batch.
- I opted to check for "set" by scooping up a spoonful, placing it on a plate in the fridge and letting it chill for appx 5 mins. When I could hold the spoon vertically with no jam glorping off, it was "done." (and, like I said, it took quite awhile! In fact, I found myself squishing some of the apple chunks to kind of expedite the process!)
- Transfer the hot jam to your hot jars. Clean the rims, add the lids and rings.
- Move your canner over to the hot burner, add the appropriate quantity of hot water and canning rack, transfer your hot jars to the canner and process, according to your canner's directions, for 10 minutes...
New Addition to my "Weapons of Apple Destruction" arsenal!
Oxo Apple Corer (does a damned fine job!)
I used my apple peeler/corer as *just* a peeler this time.
4 cups of fresh cranberries
8 cups of chopped apples (too coarse, IMHO)
Starting to cook down...
Cooking down, ever further.
It actually got even darker than this!
It actually got even darker than this!
Into the canner................
Lids popping most gleefully
This actually filled my pre-selected quantity of jars PERFECTLY! (and that NEVER happens!). 1 pint jar, 1 12-oz jar and 5 half-pints.
Can't WAIT for it to cool. Hell, I might even bake up a fresh loaf of bread for this!