Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Cinnamon Spiced Apple-Cranberry Jam

I purchased the book Food In Jars before I even knew that it was based on a blog by Marissa  McClellan.  I just started to learn to can this past summer, and I am hooked.  So when I happened upon this book at Sam's Club while I was there shopping with my mom one day, I had to pick it up.
Later that afternoon when I was on Twitter gloating about my new cookbook find, a friend of mine said, "You know Food In Jars is a blog, right?"  What?!?  Stop the presses!  So, I am now a faithful follower of Food In Jars. :)

I immediately spent the evening after I bought the book happily earmarking everything I wanted to make (yeah, a lot of this book is dog-eared at this point ;) ).  One recipe that I knew I had to make for the holidays is her Apple-Cranberry Jam.  I added my own little spin on it with the cinnamon to make it a little more festive. 

What you will need:
11-12 medium apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (I used a mix of Cameo, Suncrisp, & Fuji.)
4 cups of fresh cranberries
6 cups of sugar
Zest & juice of 2 lemons
3 small cinnamon sticks (about 3 inches long each)

I am not going to get into all of the canning basics with this recipe.  If you need a few tips or are a beginner, check out my post of A Few Tips From a Canning Novice to the Canning Newbies or take some time to peruse the Resources Page on Food In Jars.

Be sure to sterilize your jars and lids.  I like to do this in the dishwasher.  Just leave the jars in your dishwasher to keep them warm until you are ready to fill them.  This recipe made four 16 oz jars for me.  

Combine the apples, cranberries, sugar, & 1 cup of water in a large pot or dutch oven.  Over high heat, bring it to a boil.  Add the cinnamon sticks.  Allow it to boil for 15-20 minutes.  The apples will become soft and the cranberries will pop open.

Mix in the lemon juice and zest.  Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for another 10-15 minutes.  I let mine simmer for about 20 minutes because I was aiming for a thicker consistency, more like a cranberry sauce than a jam.  (I actually used some of this instead of cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone loved it. ;) )

Ladle your jam into your hot jars and add your lids and rims just until finger tight.  Process in boiling water for about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the pot and allow it to set up on a counter overnight before moving them.  You should hear the reassuring little pings as your jars cool letting you know that your jars' lids have sealed. 

Add a festive bow or some twine and you have a perfect hostess gift or a fabulous jar of homemade jam to add to a gift basket for your favorite foodie! :)

What are some of your favorite gifts to can for the holidays?