I have been making jam on my own for probably close to 13 or more years. As such, I’ve finally developed the confidence to experiment with flavors and such in my recipes. I opened the cupboard the other day and pulled out the last jar of cherry jam that I made earlier this summer. It was a sad day. I loved that jam, made with local cherries even. But, I knew that I needed more jam, and as much as I love the jam made by the lady who sells at the local farmers market, at $4 a jar it’s just not economically feasible. Especially when my family eats about a half pint of jam a week (give or take). We go through an equally large amount of peanut butter. There are worse things we could be eating I’m sure.
Knowing that we are not in peak growing season for many of the fruits that I usually use to make my jam, I decided to take a trip down the local juice aisle at the grocery store. I’d thought that I might make cranberry jelly and pomegranate jelly, both of which I knew I could find in 100% juice, something that is required when I’m making jam (or jelly). But as I was walking through the grocery store, the fresh pressed apple cider caught my attention.
It’s apple season, there’s bushels of apples at every farmers market stall, and the varieties are truly stunning. But my favorite part of the season is the cider that is cold pressed usually at the same orchards that grow the fruit. I knew that I had to take advantage of the fresh juice (and on sell for less than $6 a gallon!) and make some cider jelly. The only problem was, that I couldn’t find a ready made recipe that seemed to hit the spot for me. So, I decided to make my own.
I’ve never made my “own” jam before, I’ve always followed tired and true recipes, either from the box of pectin or off a trusted website. But this time I figured I could do it on my own. I modified the basic apply jelly recipe found in my box of pectin and man did it turn out great!
Only problem I had was that my biggest pot wasn’t big enough to actually hold the whole recipe at a full rolling boil. I ended up having to take it off the heat early and loosing over a cup of jelly to the underbelly of my stove. Truly a sad thing, but not too sad, I still ended up with over 10 cups of jelly (or syrup because, again, it didn’t cook long enough and didn’t quite set up). I’m going to give the basic directions for jam/jelly making here, but if you want to know how to “properly” process your jam in a boiling water bath, you can read up on them here.
Mulled Apple Cider Jelly
6 1/2 cups cold pressed fresh apple cider
1/2 cup not from concentrate orange juice
1 box regular pectin
2 teaspoons orange juice
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
7 cups regular granulated sugar
2 cups packed brown sugar
Mix juice, spices, and pectin in a large pot on the stove. Measure out the sugar into a separate container. Prepare your jars, lids, and rings. Heat the juice mixture over high heat stirring constantly until mixture reaches a full rolling boil. Add the sugar all at once and continue stirring until mixture again reaches a full rolling boil. Cook for one minute stirring constantly and the remove from heat. Ladle into prepared jars and process as desired.
I recommend eating this warm with warm fresh bread and a little butter. But then, that’s the way I think you should eat all fresh jam. Also good on pancakes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.