Thursday, November 07, 2013

Jammin! to the (Apple) Core, recipe

Apple has been very central to human civilization or lack thereof. Legend has it that the Gawds had forbidden it to humans. Legend also has it that an apple a day keeps the Doctor away. Clearly the Gawds were siding with the Doctors on this one not wanting the Doctor away from people at all, so to speak.
It was in fact a cold-blooded reptile - the serpent that introduced us mortals to this delicious fruit. Though we suggest that you don't go hugging a snake on this account. Preceding was a lesson in mythology + medical science rolled into one. You're welcome!
It's autumn in Minnesota - that ever so brief interlude between the two seasons known to locals - road repair and winter. Besides beautiful weather, brilliant colors of foliage and a festive, happy mood, the season also brings bountiful harvests of corn, pumpkins, wild turkeys and apples.

Our first foray in an orchard this season yielded 3 Pecks (no relation to Gregory) of delicious apples - crisp as an autumn breeze. Paula red, Macintosh and Red Barron decided to grace our home and palates for a while.Since we live in the land of 'Metric system is evil', all that we can say about our haul is that we were a peck short of a bushel. Get it? Me neither. Suffice it to say that it translated into a lot of apples.

Tucking into apples of each kind while waxing poetic, we wondered - is it even possible to capture the essence of autumn that we're relishing in this fruit? (And an apple does justice to the season that bears it - in color, texture and sweet and tart taste.) While the overall consensus was the obvious - of course we can't, but boldly venturing out on nonsensical ventures constitutes half the perks of being human.

So, we decided to try to preserve some of that autumn spirit in a glass jar with a metal cap. having no idea whatsoever, we turned to - what now seems like the benevolent, universal and eternal grandmother - the internet (did Adam google Eve or vice versa?). But the results were baffling - you could make apple butter (hullo! I can't churn), or apple pie jam ( Um! pies isn't what we picked) and all sorts of exotic variations on what we were seeking - a simple apple jam.

Shaken to the core, we had to improvise, and forge our own way.

Why couldn't we work with a recipe that had yielded us much success with strawberries? Yeah! why couldn't we. But then apple and caramel flavor also go well together. And we had no nerve left to search for caramel recipe.

 white sugar, lemon juice and Jaggery warming in pan

The better and wiser half of this bumbling enterprise came up with golden suggestions - to use Gur or Jaggery - a very raw cane sugar - for the nutty, caramel like flavor. the rest was easy enough.

6 cups of peeled, cored shredded apple flesh
juice of 2 lemons
1.5 cups sugar
1 cup of crumbled Gur
3 tbsp fruit pectin
We let the pectin get friendly with the shredded apple in a glass bowl, while the menage a trios of white sugar, lemon juice and Jaggery were warming up in a pan. Eventually everyone joined the melee and several BTUs worth of natural gas was burnt.

pectin gelling with shredded apple

The resulting goo, ... er we mean spirit of autumn, duly tasted and approved by the 6 & 8 yr old resident chefs, has been canned as planned. We're ready for winter - not that it cares!

Homemade Apple Jam in the jar...
Post written by DH 

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