Home made French apple jam
Our little apple trees are usually very generous and I give lots of them away. We have a Discovery, a very early variety, that doesn’t keep and indeed should be picked and eaten still standing by the tree to enjoy it at its best. It’s a huge cropper and I share a lot of these, emphasising not to keep them in the fruit bowl, but to eat them quickly.
Next up are the Scrumptious, a red skinned and truly tasty type. Keeps well and has a long season.
Then along come Braeburn, which you will know from the supermarket, although home grown is like home baked. Much nicer.
Then, about now, we have Lord Derby. A green skinned variety, some of which grow huge like a Bramley. They are good for both eating and cooking. They had started dropping, so I picked up the windfalls and wondered what I could use them for.
Home made apple jam
This year, I thought I’d make some apple jam to preserve some of them, and I’ve also got my bottling jars out and canned some as well. When I was looking for inspiration, I came across a recipe that included cardamom seeds. Intrigued, I thought it sounded different and interesting and worth a try. It was also called French Apple Jam, which I hadn’t heard of before. There’s not a lot about it via Google, except that it needs to contain cardamom seed to be called French Apple Jam.
Having worked on Cheap Family Recipes on the Apple Curd recipe, I also thought I’d try it using the entire fruit, excepting only the stalk.
I keep most orange peels (in the freezer) and when I have a few, I simmer them in a little water until they are tender, then blitz them. They are incredibly tasty in all kinds of things. I often have some to flavour yogurt, or porridge, and they make a cake something special too.
I thought a little in the jam would be interesting, just a little, to give an under flavour
What was the apple jam like?
Absolutely delicious! I expected to get a very firm set, but it actually came out a very soft set, which still works fine. The flavour has a delicate citrus undertone which is just what I was after.
I used 2 tsps of cardamom seeds, which I thought seemed like a lot, but gave a subtle flavour. Next time I might use ground cardamom as I’d like to see what it’s like with more of that taste
I have costed the recipe using purchased apples, but of course if you can get hold of some by foraging or know someone like me who has an abundance, this will be much much cheaper
Some other jam recipes on Thrifty Lesley
- 1.3 kg sharp apples cut into chunks
- 250 ml water
- 1 lemon zest & juice
- 1 kg sugar
- 3 tblsp orange peels cooked and pureed, optional
- Roughly chop the apples. Don't peel or core them. Remove any bruised parts or any insect damage. The pips are fine to include, but if you'd rather not, pick them out now.
- Take the cardamom seeds out of the paper husks and crush them
- Place the apples in the preserving pan, or large thick bottomed saucepan, along with the water, cardamom seeds, lemon zest and juice and orange peel puree if using
- Simmer gently until the apples are cooked through. Depending on the type of apples you used, they may cook down to a mush, or they may remain whole.
- Do not rush this step. Cook the fruit on too high a heat and they may catch and give your lovely jam a burnt flavour. Cook for not enough time and you’ll have hard or chewy fruit in the finished jam.
- As the entire apple is included, once the fruit is soft, put a stick blender in to break up the skin. Puree it completely, or leave as many bits in it as you would like
- Once the fruit is soft enough, add the sugar. Remove the lid and boil a bit faster until setting point is reached. This should be about 10 minutes. This jam sets really well, so shouldn't take long. Don't boil too hard as the mix is quite thick, like a puree, and it may stick
- You can test the set by putting a teaspoon of jam on a cold saucer and putting it in the fridge for a couple of minutes. If it’s ready, it will have formed a skin in that time and when you push it gently with a finger you’ll see that skin.
- If you have a thermometer able to measure high enough, it should set when it reaches 104c/220f. Just keep simmering until it’s ready.
- While the jam is simmering, sort your jam jars out. If you haven’t already, wash them, and pop them in a low oven to sterilise them. Some people use jars fresh from the dishwasher. Whatever you do, they need to be very clean, and dry.Any water in the jars allows a sugar syrup to develop, and over time, that may well grow mould, spoiling your lovely jam. And they need to be scrupulously clean so your jam will keep well, there must be no germs, bacteria or mould spores at all in the jars.And don’t forget the lids. If you are not using lids, cover the jars with cellophane circles and elastic bands. Or use circles cut from cereal box inners and perhaps a pretty ribbon. A little gingham fabric looks fabulous. Anything that will keep the jam clean and dry will do the job.
- Once the jam is ready to set, there may be scum on the top. Either skim it off, or stir in a generous knob of butter, this gets rid of any scum floating on the surface. Stir well. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes, stirring now and again
- Put your jars on a heatproof surface and carefully ladle in the jam. Be careful, splashes will burn you badly at this temperature. A jam funnel is helpful for this
- I usually put a very clean tea towel over the filled jars until they are just warm and only then put the lid on. The tea towel is to keep any mould spores in the air, off the surface of the jam.Others have recommended putting the lids on straight away and turning the jars upside down
Got a great recipe? How about submitting it to appear on Thrifty Lesley!
Take care of your family and your budget
Before putting together the meal planners, Lesley surveyed what was needed. Of the existing 14 budget meal plans, most are cheap meals for 2 people so can be sized up or down. Others are cheap family meals for 4 people, or meals for one