It was my last day at work on Friday and I wanted to give a little bit of some home-made goodness to my lovely colleagues. Jam somehow came to my mind again. I seem to think that by slow-cooking all those fruits, it symbolises the capping (in this case, jarring) of the good times over the last few years together, and gifting it as a way to commemorate the memory of our friendships. Besides, juicy cranberries + chunky soft apple pieces nestled in a low-sugar gelatin-free jam makes for a relatively healthy spread (presumably).
It was met with pretty good reviews, though the jam was a little too much fruit and too little jam, such that it's more a chunky paste rather than a spread. Guess it could be my drastic reduction of the sugar. Yet, it was sweet enough, any more sugar and it would have been way too sweet. So perhaps, I may have to add more water and cook it down a little longer in my next attempt. Home made jam is such a easy-to-make and much healthier alternative to store purchased bottles. Just ensure there's good TV going on while you peel, core, cut your way through the fruits!
Makes 18 small bottles, cooked in 2 huge pots.
25 apples, peeled, cored and cut into small pieces, approx 18 cups of diced apples
750g dried cranberries
Juice from 3 lemons
3 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
1 kg fine white sugar
2 cups water
Place apples, cranberries, sugar and water into a pot deep enough that the mixture would not bubble over. Boil at high temperature for around 15-20 minutes until cranberries look fat and juicy, apples slightly soft.
Add lemon and cinnamon powder, simmer over medium heat until mixture reduces into a paste. This took around 45 minutes in my AMC heat-conducive pot which boils things usually much faster than other pots.
Fill clean, dry, sterilised jars with jam immediately, and cool to room temperature. Store in refrigerator. Love it with crackers!
- I used a mixture of small royal gala lady, granny smith and big fuji apples. The small roya gala apples are softer and sweeter, therefore cooks into a mushy naturally sweet paste better. I like granny smith for that hint of tartness and the fuji apples provide the chunks as the apple pieces can retains the bite as the other apples melts into the jam mixture.
- Since apples are cranberries are both naturally high in pectin, there is no need for gelatin. The jam will set nicely and bouncily!
- The jam turned out pretty chunky, would be a good accompaniment to roast turkey in Xmas times or paired with a thick slab of ham in chunk of crusty bread. Yumz!