Greetings everyone! Today’s post is kind of on a whim. I decided over the weekend to use up a TON of honeycrisp apples I had on hand. They were going to go bad, so I needed to use them ASAP!
If you haven’t seen my homemade applesauce recipe, you need to get on that sh*t. NOW. I make my applesauce in the slow cooker, which makes it a super easy and delectable way to get more fiber and antioxidants in your diet
, not to mention enjoy vanilla ice cream.But yeah, to make a long story short, you need to make my applesauce pronto if you haven’t done so already.
But enough about applesauce. I know from personal experience that as delicious as my applesauce is, it’s kind of hard to eat it on the daily for the entire fall and winter season. That’s why I decided to play around with some other recipes for cooked apples. I made sure to steer clear of pies, pastries, and other delicious goodies that while delicious, often aren’t so good for us. Enter this delicious apple jam I learned from my grandmother.
Before I get to today’s recipe, let me take a minute to discuss my grandmother and her overwhelmingly amazing cooking talents. Born in the countryside of Azerbaijan (which is a tiny little country northwest of Iran), she knows some olddd school cooking methods. Case in point:
- She once told me a story when I was eight about how she used to make her own tomato paste back in the day when canned goods weren’t available.
- As a child, she would help her mother cater weddings; her mother was famous for her pastry making abilities.
- The first time she made dinner for her husband, she was cooking over a fire. Apparently, she didn’t spread the coals out evenly, so 1/3 of the rice was overcooked, 1/3 was undercooked, and 1/3 was just right. My late grandfather made a joke that it looked like he had married Goldilocks. I didn’t even know you could cook rice over a fire.
- She ferments her own vegetables and makes her own yogurt.
- She makes amazing homemade jams, hence this blog post.
I’ll save some of my grandmother’s other cooking stories for another time, but it’s best I at least get to the part about her jam-making abilities. Over the years, she has made a variety of jams like sour cherry and quince, two seemingly foreign flavors but very common in Persian cuisine. But my favorite jam of hers has always been apple. I can’t always put my finger on it, but something about this sweet and soft jam gets me every time. I could literally (and definitely have literally) eat this jam by the spoonful.
Making Homemade Jam: Simple Tips and Tricks
Contrary to popular beliefs, making homemade jam really isn’t that hard. Gone are the days where you need have a million mason jars and a huge pot of boiling water. If you’re making jam just for yourself (i.e. a small amount that you’re not planning on selling or gifting), try following these basic and simple guidelines:
- Pick high-quality fruit. There’s nothing worse than trying to fudge a pot of jam with a pound of rotten apples, strawberries, etc. Don’t use fruit that has clearly gone bad. This is especially true with moldy berries. Not only with they affect the taste and flavor of your jam, but it’s also more likely to spoil quicker.
- Devote an afternoon. I’ll be honest when I say that jam-making isn’t a 30-minute meal you read about in a Rachel Ray cookbook. The first few times you embark on this adventure, it might be quite an arduous journey. Try devoting a lazy Sunday when you’d normally be hanging around the house to making a big batch of this jam.
- Get some citric acid. In today’s recipe, my grandmother mysteriously added a white powder to our jam when it was almost done cooking. It took me some time to figure out what the English translation was of the Persian food she was describing, but I finally found a proper translation: citric acid. After doing some more research, it turns out that citric acid is a very common additive added to jam to help it congeal and achieve a good consistency. This recipe doesn’t call for much (a 1/4 of a tsp at most). But trust me, this tiny smidgen takes your jam from soupy to superb!
And now, here is today’s recipe. Enjoy this jam on toast, with yogurt, as a sweetener for tea, as part of an appetizer (e.g. brie and crackers), as a glaze for meat, the list goes on. Check out this stellar list of other things you can do with jam!