Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Apple jalapeño jam

apple jalapeno jam

Apple jalapeño jam—what could be better in the fall? Though I have to admit that this jar of spreadable apples made warm and lively with cinnamon and jalapeños only came about due to a bout of laziness. Allow me to explain.

On cool fall mornings, I wake up craving warm slices of crunchy toast, slathered in soft butter and sweet jam. Usually I have plenty of jam on hand, as making it is one of favorite summertime activities. Plus, the jars are fun to give to people at Christmas. Who doesn’t like a jar of something sweet and homemade?

For some reason, however, I didn’t make any jam this summer. I was overwhelmed with work and at the end of the day, the last thing I wanted to do was stand in front of the stove stirring a pot. Though by the time I realized the folly in my thinking, the cherries and berries were long gone. It was now time for fall fruits, such as apples, to shine.

One of my favorite memories is putting up apples with my grandmother. She has a tree that in some years is quite abundant, and she’ll pack jar after jar with fresh sliced fruit. While these apples are delicious, they are not spreadable. But what if I made an apple jam instead?



Now, for some reason, apples are usually transformed into jellies not jams. The difference between the two is that jellies are made from strained juice, whereas jams still contain the fruit. I prefer the chunkier nature of jams, though when I set about making an apple jam as opposed to an apple jelly, it appeared to be not as common.

To make my jam, I consulted both my usual method and also looked at recipes by Marisa McClellan and Sarabeth Levine, who both advised adding the sugar after the apples had cooked for a while, which would insure that the fruit would break down and become soft and not stay solid as the jam came together. This was good advice. Though I veered from their techniques by throwing in some jalapeños, as there are still plenty of those at the market still. And for acidity, I decided to use apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice.

This might have been the quickest jam I’ve ever made. The jam was complete in about 30 minutes. I’m not sure why, though I suppose it probably has something to do with the apples’ high levels of pectin, the agent that adheres with the sugar and makes the jam thicken and set. I made another batch, and again, it came together quickly. If you’re not a fan of standing in front of the stove for hours, this is the jam for you.

apple jalapeno jam

As I suspected, apple jalapeño jam is terrific on toast. But because it’s both sweet and spicy, you can also spoon it over a block of cream cheese and serve it with crackers. Or if you want to make your lunch a little more fancy, I highly recommend spreading it onto a buttery grilled cheese sandwich, preferably one made with a sharp cheddar or a nutty Gruyere. Though no matter what you do with it, I do think that you’ll agree with me that apple jalapeño jam is a wonderful way to celebrate the fall.

Apple jalapeño jam
2 1/2 pounds baking apples, such as Granny Smith or Cortland, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 to 4 jalapeños, seeded and diced (depending on how hot you want it)
1 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Sterilize 2 half-pint jars and their lids. Place a plate in the freezer.

Add the apples, jalapeños, water, and apple cider vinegar to a non-reactive sauce pot. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered, while occasionally stirring, until the apples are soft, about 10 minutes. If the liquid gets too low during this process, you can add more water a tablespoon at a time.

Once the apples are soft, stir in the granulated sugar, the brown sugar, the cinnamon, and the salt. As you stir, mash the apples against the side of the pot with the back of your spoon. Alternatively, you can use a potato masher. You can make it as chunky or mashed as you like. For instance, I prefer mine to leave a few apple chunks in my jam for texture. Continue to cook the jam for 20 minutes, while occasionally stirring.

After about 20 minutes, take the plate out of the freezer and place a spoonful of the jam on the plate. After about 15 seconds, tilt the plate and if the jam doesn’t run then it’s ready. If it does run, continue to cook it while occasionally stirring for 5 more minutes and then check again. Continue to cook and test until it doesn’t run.

Pour jam into hot, sterile jars leaving a bit of headspace. Cover with lid and rings. Allow to cool and then refrigerate. I find that it can last for a month in the refrigerator. Alternatively, you can process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Yield: 2 half-pints

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35 comments:

Sue/the view from great island said...

Yay, a brand new type of hot pepper jam! I'm addicted to the hot/sweet experience, especially when it's piled on top of soft goat cheese, thanks for a great recipe.

Dan from Platter Talk said...

This jam looks delish. Our apples are ready for harvest some will be headed for this recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Sue--I'm addicted to it, too. And yes, it would be fabulous with goat cheese!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Dan--You're welcome. It's a great way to use up your harvest.

Linda said...

I was given Apple Butter from PA once and had enjoyed it. But didn't get why it was called butter. It had a thick consistency you mentioned, but I wouldn't call it chunky. I have never attempted jam or jelly, but you tempt me to try.

rooney said...

Oh, how I wish you had more time to write and post! I love every one.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Linda--This is pretty simple to make--I hope you try it!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Rooney--You're very sweet! Now that we're getting near the editing process for the new book, I aim to post more often.

Celeste said...

Here in the midwest apple jam is called apple butter, but it's usually cooked longer until it darkens to brown. It never really sets up firmly, though. I always see it on the table at the Amish-style restaurants as something to put on yeast rolls at dinner. I love the idea of putting it in a grilled cheese sandwich, Lisa!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Celeste--My stepmother makes apple butter and it takes a lot longer to make than this jam, though it is more creamy. I've never done it myself, I reckon I should try!

christin said...

SHUT UP! this is amazing.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Christin--Ha! Thank you.

SeattleDee said...

Mmmmmm, I can imagine this layered over a smear of cream cheese or mascarpone as a base for an apple crostata... assuming we didn't eat the entire batch with a spoon beforehand. This just leapt to the top of the Must Make list.

Elizabeth said...

This looks more like a chutney to me then a jam but delicious all the same.

Sandi Graham said...

Yum- I love jams with jalapeños

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Seattle Dee--Love that idea of layering it with mascarpone for an apple crostata!

Elizabeth--It is delicious.

Sandi--I do, too!

TexasDeb said...

Lisa this looks delicious! I'm a fan of adding heat to sweet things and this looks to elevate apple jam to perfection. A question - if we do process in a hot water bath will this keep in the pantry for months? (If I was making some for Thanksgiving hostess gifts IE).

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

TexasDeb--Yes, they should be good for a year if you process in a water bath.

Kelly said...

Perfect! I've been thinking of making a small batch of pineapple jalapeno jelly. You have inspired me to get moving. Another great recipe...thanks, Lisa.

tyler said...

Oh boy! Wonder how this would do with a habenero pepper?! Either way, I will be making this for sure.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

tyler! i was just thinking that i need to try this with the habeneros that are threatening to take over my kitchen!

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Kelly--I love pineapples and jalapeños together. Glad to have inspired you to get moving!

Tyler and Rocky Mountain Woman--Yes, I think it would good with habaneros though a bit hotter.

SAM said...

OK, I made a large jar of this already - today. Absolutely gorgeous! Got some goat's cheese and French bread for us. Perfect. From the Wannabe-Texan :)

Tommy in Toronto said...

I've got some big ole fat 2 " pork chops waiting in the freezer to be slathered with this concoction.

Bumper crop for apples in Ontario after 85 % were lost last year.

Bill said...

Oh yeah, making this today. BTW, here in Ireland and the UK they don't bother processing jams, jellies or chutneys in a water bath. They just sterilise the jars, seal them and put them on the shelf. Works best with the rubber seal clamp-type Kilner jars.

Shelley said...

There are lots of Victorian paintings of children and mothers gathering apples from trees. I wonder how many children today have even seen an apple on a tree.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

SAM--That makes my day! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Tommy--It's perfect for pork chops! And glad to hear y'all are having a good year for apples.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Bill--Europeans seem are so much more relaxed about stuff like that than we are. I had a friend in Paris who never refrigerated anything, including milk. And she never got sick.

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Shelley--That's a good question. Though if you live where they grow, chances are you've seen one.

Kris (homesick for Texas, too!) said...

Wow!! Top off a little Blue Bell vanilla ice cream with this and--BAM!--you're home again! (at least for the moment...)

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to whip this up tonight for a dinner party tomorrow!!! Just want I needed to provide over some yummy, creamy cheese. Love how regional naming foods is. In Texas, we have chutneys, jams, jellies, butters and I would never use them to mean the same thing! Enjoy any and all of it.

Anonymous said...

This exceeded my expectations ten fold! So sweet & savory. I'm so glad I made some. Thank you for this recipe. I will be using it many more times in the future

BBQChick said...

Can you freeze this, or is freezer jam a whole other thing?

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

BBQchick--Freezer jam is a different thing.

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