You didn’t think I could stop at just one, did you?
The current experiment in chile-lovin’ jams is a Ferber-style apple preserve with a healthy kick from spicy red jalapenos. As usual, I had to augment the liquid in order to compensate for the fact that I use much less sugar than a typical Ferber recipe; also I did not cook this one to the gel stage as I wanted a loose preserve, with a beautifully spicy syrup, suitable for pouring over ice cream, cake, or pork roast according to my whim. Other than a finger-dipping of syrup as it was going into jars, I haven’t tasted this one yet; it was one of those rare recipes that exactly filled the jars allotted. I’ll let it rest on the pantry shelves for a few weeks and report back when I crack the first jar.
All hail the chile Can Jam! This week is rocking my chile world. Keep up the good work, Jammers!
Apple Jalapeno Preserves
- 3 cups apple cider
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar (organic evaporated cane juice)
- 1/2 cup (6 oz) honey
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- pinch sea salt
- 3 lbs apples (I used Ida Reds from Fishkill Farms), scrubbed
- 5 small red jalapeno peppers, about 2 and 1/2 oz (3 seeded, 2 with seeds), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced (wear gloves)
- 1 can frozen concentrated apple juice (optional)
- Day 1. Combine cider, sugar, honey, lemon juice and salt in a medium (4-quart) stockpot or Dutch oven. Peel, core, halve and thinly slice apples, tossing in the sugar-cider mixture as you go. Add jalapeno peppers, mix, cover and allow to macerate for about 1 hour.
- Bring apple mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, allow to cool, and refrigerate overnight.
- Day 2. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Strain the liquid from the fruit into a wide-bottomed Dutch oven or stockpot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; continue to boil, stirring and skimming foam now & then, until the liquid becomes thick & syrupy and reaches the gel point (220 degrees F). Add the apple juice concentrate at this point if you think you will not have enough syrup for the fruit; alternatively, you can add more apple cider & sugar; bring the syrup back up to 220 degrees F.
- Add the apple-jalapeno mix. Continue to cook over medium-high heat until the syrup is bubbling thickly, foam subsides and preserves approach the gel point (I stopped at 217 degrees F for a loose set).
- Ladle hot preserves into hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles, push apple pieces down below the level of the syrup and wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 6 cups.
- As usual when I attempt a low-sugar Ferber-style preserve, I had far too much fruit and not enough syrup (hence the addition of the apple juice concentrate at the end). If you don’t have apple juice concentrate, consider adding 2 – 3 more cups of apple cider or juice at the start of the recipe. If you use a juicier apple, you may have better luck with your syrup:fruit ratio.
- Tasting the syrup just before it went into jars, there was definitely some jalapeno heat, but it wasn’t completely blow-your-top-off hot (which makes me think I should have added more). It’s a good idea to reserve the seeds from your jalapenos and use those, just prior to canning, to adjust the amount of heat.
- I could find no good base recipe for apples + low-acid vegetable (except for a Ferber apple + celery jam, but I don’t really trust her recipes in terms of acidity) but I am quite confident that with 3 lbs of apples, 3+ cups of cider, 1/4 cup of lemon juice and only 5 jalapenos, this is quite acidic enough to be safely canned in a water bath.
Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerated, use within 1 month.