Tai and I managed to squeak in an afternoon of end-of-season apple picking last week at Fishkill Farms in Fishkill, NY. For the very end of October, they still had plenty of apples in the trees; Red Delicious, IdaRed, Rome, Macoun and Mutsu were all plentiful. With a little bit more effort, we collected a bushel of Stayman Winesap apples, even though the orchard said that they were “done.” It’s also a lovely orchard with organically grown apples at $20/half bushel (less than $1/lb). They have a large farm store with local produce from the farm and milk, butter, cheese, meat and jams and other prepared foods all from local Hudson Valley producers. If you get the chance, I highly recommend a visit.
Being the ambitious (a.k.a. “crazy”) fruit-pickers that we are, we picked about 110 lbs of apples in the space of a couple of hours. The fridge is quite packed with apples that we have been enjoying fresh, I’ve already made an apple tart and frozen a few batches of apple pie filling (recipes to follow!), and last night made my first batch of apple jam, a tart-sweet, chewy, delicious jam that gets the Tai Seal of Approval. This jam is pretty easy to make, as apple recipes go, because you do not peel the apples, and the work of chopping gets done by the food processor. The chewy bits of peel add textural interest to this jam, while the ginger is a nice foil for the sweetness of the apples. Enjoy it on toast, corn bread muffins or on top of buckwheat pancakes… or fill mini-tart shells, sprinkle with tubinado and bake for a simple gourmet dessert.
I’ll be in the kitchen cooking apples for a while yet…stay tuned for many (many) more apple preserving recipes! Not the apple recipe you’re looking for? Check out recipes for applesauce, curried apple chutney, or apple cider vinegar instead.
Adapted from Apple Ginger Jam in Gourmet Preserves by Madelaine Bullwinkel
Apple Ginger Jam
- 1 cup apple juice or filtered water
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 lbs apples (I used half Mutsu and half Stayman Winesap)
- 4 slices fresh ginger, peeled, each about the size of a quarter
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 cups sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Combine juice (or water) and lemon juice in a large bowl. Scrub and rinse apples, then core and quarter them, leaving on the skin. Remove any bruised or discolored areas. Toss the apple quarters in the juice as you go, to prevent the apples from browning.
- Chop the apple quarters, in batches, using pulses in a food processor, until they are finely chopped. Transfer chopped apples and juices to a large stockpot. Add ginger slices and a pinch of salt, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Uncover, lower heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until juices are nearly gone.
- Raise the heat and add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the mixture to come back to a boil in between additions. Stir in lemon zest, turn heat to low and simmer until jam thickens, another 10-15 minutes.
- Using tongs, remove the ginger slices. Fill hot, sterilized jars with hot jam to 1/4-inch headspace; remove air bubbles using the handle of a wooden spoon, wipe rim, affix lid and band, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 6 cups.
- The original recipe called for 2 lbs of apples and 2 and 1/2 cups of sugar, which would produce a sweeter jam with a more firm texture. I believe that apples are usually sweet enough without added sugar, but some sugar is needed in most jams in order to produce that jam-like texture. This is a soft-set jam; if you prefer a stiffer set to your jam, increase the sugar by up to 2 additional cups.
- The apples began to brown quickly upon chopping, even though I was careful to toss them in the water/lemon juice mixture. Next time I will make sure to use apple juice combined with 1 -2 tbsp lemon juice.
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