First used in military food preservation, canning was invented by French confectioner Nicolas Appert in 1810. Known as the “Father of Canning,” Appert developed the technique of placing food in a glass jar, sealing it with cork and wax, and placing the jar in boiling water. His method works because heat destroys any bacteria inside and also forces air out of the jar. As the jar cools, a vacuum seal forms. Because the process was so simple, his process of food preservation quickly spread around the world. While there have been a few modifications over the past 200 years, modern canning remains largely unchanged from Appert’s original method.
Autumn is the perfect time for you to embark on your first canning adventure, with its beautifully ripened pears, apples and kiwis. While canning is not difficult, it is a very precise practice that must be monitored meticulously, or your contents could end up producing toxic bacteria.
This is my absolute favorite recipe for autumn fruit canning. Not only can you spread this apple pie jam on your toast and waffles, but it also pairs superbly well with a bold cheese like Roquefort. Oh yes, it tops off ice cream pretty well, too. You can eat it all yourself, but this canned apple pie jam recipe doubles as a delicious homemade holiday gift, too!
- 4 cups of tart apples, peeled and chopped (Granny Smiths are my go-to type)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ginger
- 4 cups white granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 (1 3/4 ounce) box of dry pectin, plus an extra in case you need to add more
- 1 teaspoon butter
- Ball Home Canning Basics Kit or equivalent: 21 ½ qt enamel water bath canner, canning jar rack, 6 ball regular mouth pint mason jars, 6 lids and rings, ball lid wand, canning funnel, jar lifter and plastic spatula
- Tablespoon in glass of ice water
- Boil water in water bath. Add jars and lids.
- Put chopped apples in Pyrex measuring glass. Fill glass with water (with apples) to the 4 cup mark. (If you are using a smaller cup, fill it up to the 2 cup line twice.) Pour into stovetop pot.
- Add lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, pectin and butter. Mix together, stirring constantly, and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add white and brown sugar, stirring until mixture returns to a boil for about 1 minute
- Dip cold spoon in mixture and remove. If the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency, remove from heat. If mixture is runny, add ¼ of a pectin package more to mix and bring to a boil again for about 1 minute.
- Remove from the heat, and skim off any foam.
- Remove jars and lids with tongs and dry off (carefully!).
- Ladle mixture into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles with plastic spatula. Wipe off any spilled jam with a wet cloth.
- “Set” the lid on top with lid lifter and tighten the band around it.
- Process in water bath for 10 minutes.
- With jar tongs, place jam-filled jars into bath. Make sure the jars are covered with at least 2 inches of boiling water.
- Cover bath with lid and let boil for 10 minutes.
- Lift the jars out of the water with the tongs and let them cool overnight.
- In the morning, remove (or at least loosen) the rings so they do not trap moisture and rust.
- You can ensure your lid is sealed by pressing the center with your finger. If it does not pop, it is sealed. If it is not sealed, you can still use the jam if you move it to the refrigerator immediately.
- Once cooled, they’re ready to store!
To prevent your apples from darkening (as they do naturally when exposed to the air), place the cut fruit in a solution of ¾ cups of lemon juice and 1 gallon of water. Let it sit for a few minutes and then drain it.
Do not use water bath canning for low acid foods, such as meat, seafood or vegetables. These need to be processed in a pressure canner.
If you’re using your jam as holiday gifts, dress up your jars in some festive packaging. Order your own custom canning labels online, and finish the jars off by tying the lids with red, green, or white ribbon!
For more information on canning go to http://www.pickyourown.org .
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