Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cranapple Jam ver 2.0 (Almost like cranberry sauce - only BETTER!)

Yippeeee!!!  Cranberries are back in the grocery stores again!

And I've got bags of apples up the gazoobie (and - contrary to popular belief - my gazoobie just ain't that big!)

I wanted to make a batch of Cranberry Apple Chutney, but when I printed out the recipe, I realized I was missing a few key ingredients.  Oops!  And I was too lazy to go to the store again...

Almost Halloweeny - wouldn't you say?
But no, it's not a crime-scene!

I decided to whip up another batch of Cranapple Jam (I think we're having a Jam-Exchange this year!  If not, the extras will make lovely holiday gifts, yes?).  And I am venturing back into Stevia Experimentation (is that legal?!) because I found a new product in the baking aisle of the grocery store - a 50/50 Sugar + Stevia mix.

Cranapple Jam ver 1.0 is here.

And, again, I started with the same original recipe here.

But, as usual, I tweaked around some more and, I must say, I am MOST pleased with the results!  This jam, while definitely still "jam," has a flavor reminiscent of canned whole cranberry sauce - only WAY THE HELL better, k?! (I heard you say "Ew!"  Just go with me, k?!)

QT's Cranapple Jam ver 2.0
Adapted from Simple-Good-And-Tasty
Yields 1 pint jar and 6 half-pint jars

  • 8 cups of apples, peeled and chopped into 1/2"-3/4" chunks (I love my Apple Peeler/Corer!).  I used a mix of mostly Fujis and some Granny Smiths.
  • 4 cups of fresh, rinsed cranberries (about 1-1/4 bags)
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (bottled stuff is fine)
  • 1 cup unsweetened, natural cranberry juice
  • 4 cups of C&H Light Sugar + Stevia Blend
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries (Craisins)
  • 2 TBS granulated sugar + 2 TBS Low/No-Sugar Pectin (optional, if needed)
  • Dash (or two) of salt (optional, if needed)
  1. Rinse, Peel, Chop your apples and toss 'em in a bowl.  Sprinkle your 1/2 cup of lemon juice on the apples, a little at a time, to keep 'em from turning brown. Stop when you have 8 cups of chopped apples
  2. Rinse and review your cranberries.  Remove any stems and/or squishy ones.  Measure out 4 cups.
  3. Combine Apples/Lemon Juice + Cranberries in a big pot.  Add sugar/stevia blend and cranberry juice.
  4. Heat on medium high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  As soon as it starts to boil, dial-back the heat to medium low (mine *attempted* to boil over and woulda made a HELLUVA mess!).  You do want a hard-boil for appx 1 minute.  
  5. After boiling one minute, dial the heat back to low and let it simmer, stirring frequently.  Apples will start to go mushy and cranberries will start popping.  
  6. At the simmer stage, add the dried cranberries.  Continue to simmer 'til it thickens to a jam-like consistency (took me appx 30-35 minutes).  
  7. Apples and cranberries have natural pectin which should be sufficient for getting the jam to set.  In my case, I wasn't able to achieve a good "set."  I ended up cheating mixing 2 TBS of granulated sugar + 2 TBS of pectin and stirring it into the pot toward the end of the blop-blop simmering stage.  Then it thickened-up nicely.
  8. Once you've gotten a good "set," remove from heat and ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars.
  9. Process for 10 minutes
This stuff is GOOOOOOOOOD!!   Definitely a bit on the tart side (which I like).  I'm still "on the fence" about jamming with Stevia.  Stevia has - well - it has a flavor that is almost too sweet and borders on bitter, but I think it worked well with the tartness of the cranberries.  On the other hand, as I taste-tested it, I felt it was getting a little too bitter-sweet, so I added a few shakes of salt to tone it down.

When I was about halfway done with filling the jars, I glanced down at the recipe and realized "Oh sh*t - I forgot the cinnamon!" but, honestly, I think the omission of the cinnamon is why it tastes more like cranberry sauce.

Again, I am happy with that because Guess what I'll be serving with Thanksgiving Turkey this year???  No more pukey canned cranberry sauce for me!

As a jam, it's awesome on crusty sourdough with some kinda herby cream-cheesy spread (I actually had some leftover Goat Cheese Fondue which I'd spread on the sourdough).  I don't think it would make a good PB&J though...


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