I have mentioned before my love of small-batch jams. Here’s another one! This small batch Apple Pie Jam can be made with only 2 large apples and about half an hour of your time!
Small batch jams are perfect for anyone who doesn’t want to get into the whole canning thing. These jams make a small amount (about 2 cups) that is then refrigerated right after making and so is intended for using up over the short term. Of course, feel free to make a larger batch (double) and preserve with proper canning techniques if you like, for longer storage.
This jam is made without commercial pectin. (I have nothing against commercial pectin per se. It is expensive and certainly adds to the cost of making jam and I tend to prefer the softer set jam that I get without using commercial pectin). Apples are naturally full of pectin so they are one of the easiest fruits to jam. Unfortunately, most of the pectin is in the core and peelings. For that reason, I suggest making up a small, cheesecloth-wrapped packet of peel and core to add some back in while cooking. If you prefer, you can use commercial pectin in this jam to achieve a more solid jam. Simply follow the directions that come with it regarding when to add sugar and how long to boil.
Fresh apples are also higher in pectin than older apples, so try to find the freshest apples you can. Almost any type of apple will work but a tart apple will make a less sweet tasting jam. Different apples produce a bit different jam (and yield) and it’s fun to experiment with different types to see which one you prefer.
This is a perfect jam to try, even if you’re afraid of making jam. It can be sometimes be a little bit tricky to know exactly when your jam has reached the gel point, but worst case scenario, if you don’t cook it long enough, you’ll still end up with a wonderful apple syrup to jar up, that will be nice on pancakes or warmed and poured over ice cream.
Some ways to enjoy your Apple Pie Jam:
Over ice cream
On a stack of pancakes
Filling for a dessert crepe, with whipped cream or ice cream
In baking dishes (swirled into muffins or as a topping for cheesecake, for example)
And of course … on warm toast, biscuits or scones.
Small Batch Apple Pie Jam
Summary: This small-batch jam is made without commercial pectin because well … apples are chock full of natural pectin. Unfortunately, most of the pectin is in the core and peel. Adding a cheesecloth wrapped packet of apple core and peels adds some back in to help set the jam. If you want to give this jam a try but don’t have cheesecloth, you can make it without adding the packet. It will be a softer-set jam but will still be very nice. This small-batch jam can be preserved through proper canning techniques or simply jar it up and refrigerate, without the need for canning it. It will last several weeks in the fridge. Optional (but recommended) Special Supplies Needed: Cheesecloth and string
- 2 cups fresh tart apples, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp. allspice
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. butter (to reduce foaming – can be omitted, if you prefer)
- Cut a piece of string and two pieces of cheesecloth about 8-inches square, if using. Set aside. Place a small plate in the freezer for testing jam for readiness later. Have a clean jar(s) or containers.
- Put white and brown sugars, lemon juice, cinnamon, allspice and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven. Set aside for now.
- Now move on to the apples. Peel the apples, reserving the apple peel separately. Quarter the apples and remove core, reserving apple cores separately. Dice the apples and place in a 2-cup (or larger) glass measuring cup. Add water to the cup of apples until the water reaches the 2-cup mark. Add to apples and water to the Dutch oven with the sugars and stir to combine. Place the Dutch oven on stove, over medium heat.
- Gather up some apple peel and cores. Stack the two sheets of prepared cheesecloth, place a mound of apple peels and cores in the middle then gather up from the edges and tie securely with string so nothing can escape! Add the cheesecloth packet to the pot.
- Increase heat to high and cook, stirring, until mixture reaches a full, rolling boil (this is a boil that doesn’t disappear with stirring). Reduce heat just slightly. Cook, stirring frequently for about 5 minutes. Remove plate from freezer and begin testing jam regularly for readiness. If jam is ready, a small puddle of jam placed on the cold plate will wrinkle and leave a clear line when a spoon is pushed through it. (Mine usually takes 7-8 minutes), or 224° F. on a candy thermometer.
- When ready, remove pot from heat. Remove and discard cheesecloth packet. Place your jar on a plate (to catch any spillage) and ladle hot jam into jar. Cover with lid (careful, it’s really, really hot!) Allow to cool a half hour or so and then refrigerate. Jam will thicken over the first 24 hours, as it sets. Keep your jam refrigerated to use and enjoy! (You can remove and warm some to use over ice cream, on pancakes or of course, on toast or muffins etc.)
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 35 min
Number of servings (yield): 2 cups