For the past month, a serious MTA snarl (#7trainpain) has been putting a cramp in my usual Saturday morning market trips. So I’ve been fresh directing a little more than usual lately, but this past weekend I had the rare luxury of riding a functioning train into the city to go to the greenmarket on Saturday morning.
I’ve been trying to keep my grocery budget especially tight for April to help force me to cook down my pantry a little, so I went armed with just a $20 bill. I had rosemary and apples on my list to make this jam, but also wanted to pick up some vegetables for the week. It’s a deceptively sleepy time at the market right now. Overwintered greens and scallions are just beginning to pop up, but it’s mostly still our loyal root veg and apples. Pretty soon though, there will be rhubarb and mountains of green. It’s hard not to get excited about eating seasonally and preserving around this time of year.
I was recently sent a review copy of my friend Marisa McClellan’s (she’s the powerhouse behind the blog Food in Jars) new book Preserving by the Pint and it couldn’t have some at a better time. The small batches of inspired flavors are just the thing to get newbies excited and renew the interest of seasoned preservers. As the title suggests, most of the recipes yield just a pint or two. Tiny yields make this book and the recipes in it super-accessible for folks who are just getting started. Plus, small batches let more experienced folks work new, unique recipes (preserved fig quarters with whiskey?!) into their repetoire, without a huge investment of time and produce.
I was drawn to this recipe for Rosemary Apple Jam because I knew I’d be able to get all of the ingredients at the greenmarket at this time of year and because of its sweet and savory potential. In my experience, infusing flavors in jam can be a bit hit or miss, but the rosemary flavor comes through so beautifully here. The book suggests it works great as a glaze for meat and I think it’d be stellar as part of a fancy grilled cheese. I stirred some into a dollop of crème fraîche for a decadent after work snack.
Thanks to the folks at Running Press, I’m sharing the recipe for Rosemary Apple Jam and have a copy of Preserving by the Pint to giveaway.
Use the rafflecopter below to enter (US addresses only please).
Rosemary Apple Jam, reprinted with permission from Preserving by the Pint
makes 2 (half-pint/250ml) jars
- 1 1/2 pounds/680 g apples (about 4 cups chopped)
- 4 sprigs rosemary, divided
- 1/2 cup/100 g granulated sugar
- zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- Peel, core, and dice the apples. Place in a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of water and 3 rosemary sprigs. Cover the pan, place over medium heat, and bring to simmer. Cook until the apples are tender like applesauce and can be mashed with the times of a fork, 10 to 20 minutes.
- Prepare a boiling water bath and 2 half-pint/250 ml jars according to the process on page 11.* Place 2 lids in a small saucepan of water and bring to a gentle simmer.
- To cook, pour the fruit into a large skillet. Off the heat, stir the sugar into the apples and taste. If you’re happy with the level of rosemary flavor, set the final sprig of rosemary aside and set the skillet over medium-high heat. If you’d like to infuse a little more rosemary essence, drop the remaining sprig into the jam. After tasting, stir in the lemon juice and zest.
- Stirring regularly, bring the fruit to a boil and cook until it bubbles madly and appears to thicken, 8-10 minutes. It’s done when you pull a spatula through the jam and it doesn’t immediately rush to fill the space you’ve cleared.
- Remove the jam from the heat and funnel into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch/12 mm of headspace. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
*pg 11: How to Process
- If you’re starting with brand new jars, remove their lids and rings. If you’re using older jars, check the rims to make sure there are no chips or cracks.
- Put the rack into the canning pot and put the jars on top.
- Fill the pot (and jars) with water to cover and bring to a boil. I have found that this is the very easiest way to heat up jars in preparation for canning because you’re going to have to heat up the canning pot anyway. Why not use that energy to heat up the jars as well?
- Put the lids in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to the barest simmer on the back of the stove.
- While the canning pot comes to a boil, prepare your product.
- When your recipe is complete, remove the jars from the canning pot (pouring water back into the pot as you remove the jars) and set them on a clean towel on the counter. There’s no need to invert them; the jars will be so hot that any remaining water will rapidly evaporate. Remove the lids from the saucepan with tongs or a magnetic lid wand and lay them on the clean towel.
- Carefully fill the jars with your product. Depending on the recipe, you’ll need to leave between 1/4 and 1/2 inch of headspace (that’s room between the surface of the product and the top of the jar.) Jams and jellies typically get 1/4 inch, while thicker products and pickles get 1/2 inch.
- Wipe the rims of the jar with a clean, damp paper towel or kitchen towel. If the product you’re working with is very sticky, you can dip the edge of the cloth in distilled white vinegar for a bit of a cleaning boost.
- Apply the lids and screw the bands on the jars to hold the lids down during processing. Tighten the bands with the tips of your fingers to ensure they aren’t overly tight. This is known as “fingertip tight.”
- Carefully lower the filled jars into the canning pot. You may need to remove some water as you put the jars in the pot, to keep it from overflowing. A heat-resistant measuring cup is the best tool for this job. If you’re canning in an asparagus or 4th burner pot, you will be stacking your jars. Take care as you do this.
- Once the pot has returned to a polling boil, start your timer. The length of the processing time will vary from recipe to recipe.
- When your timer goes off, promptly remove the jars from the water bath. Gently place them back on the towel-lined countertop and let them cool.
- The jar lids should begin to ping as soon as they’ve been removed from the pot. This pinging is the sound of the seals forming; the center of the lids will become concave as the vacuum seal takes hold.
- After the jars have cooled for 24 hours, remove the bands and check the seals. You do this by grasping the jar by the edges of the lid and gently lifting the an inch or two off the countertop. The lid should hold fast.
- Once you’ve determined that your seals are good, you can store your jars in a cool, dark place (with rings off, please) for up to a year. Any jars with bad seals can still be used–just store them in the refrigerator and use within 2 weeks.
Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for editorial consideration and this post contains amazon affiliate links.