What you need: Yields about 8 cups or 8 half-pint jars
8 cups apples diced or thinly sliced
2 whole oranges
5 cups sugar
2 Tbsp fruit pectin
1 tsp butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
8-8oz/1/2 pint glass jars to can the jam
Lids and bands to seal the jars
I do not carry any fancy canning equipment. Just use the age old method of the basics- a large heavy pot. Prepare the cans first, by simmering them in a large pot of hot water. Boil the jars and lids steadily for 3 minutes, then in a low simmer until ready for use. Place an empty metal spoon in the freezer to run the jam test.
Pour the diced apples into a large pot that is big enough to hold the apples and sugar all together. Grate the rind from the two oranges and set aside. Squeeze the juice from them and measure it. Pour 1 cup of juice into the pot along with the apples and bring it to a boil until the apples are soft and mushy. You may puree it if you like or leave it as chunks. After you gather about 8 cups of puree, pour it back and bring it to a boil. Add the orange rind and cook for another 5 minutes. Bring it to a good boil. Mix the pectin along with a few teaspoons of sugar to prevent lumping.
Add in the pectin and let it boil. Then add in the rest of the measured sugar and let it dissolve completely. Toss in a spoon of butter to prevent foaming. Get the mixture to a rolling boil that can not be stirred down. Boil hard for a minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim out any foam if necessary.
To test if it is ready to set, add a spoon of hot jam into the cold freezer spoon and place it back. If its forms a jam in a few minutes, your jam is all ready to set. If it is too runny, add some more pectin and sugar. Bring it to a boil and run the test again.
Remove the jars from the simmering water bath, place a funnel over the jars and fill them using a ladle. Leave about 1/4 inch head space. Clean the rim with a towel that is dipped in boiling water. Apply the lid and ring it down with the band to hold tight. Place all the jars back in a boiling water bath on low. Cover and let it simmer for 10 to 20 minutes depending on the altitude. Take them out and place them in a cool dark place. Over the course of 24 hours, your jar tops will pop, and that is a sure sign your jars are sealed.
Don't fret over your jam if it does not turn out right. If its runny call it jelly or preserve. If it is pure fruit liquid, just use it as a syrup to make smoothies, or pour them into molds to make frozen treats. Enjoy!
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