Yes, you read it right, gingerbread jam. I love gingerbread and I figured that had to be some way to take the flavors of a nice warm gingerbread cake and make it into a jam. I challenged SB Canning over on Facebook and we both have come up with out own versions.
Today was the perfect day to make this jam since it really feels like autumn outside. It was gray and drizzly and just plain old damp. The kind of weather that makes you happy you are a knitter!
I will preface this with this is not a tested recipe but I based it on one that I trust. If you have not canned before or it has been awhile since you canned, I would suggest you check out the up to date information offered by the National Center for Home Food Preservation has to offer.
And a note about the molasses I used. Unless you use molasses on a regular basis, you may not realize that there are two different types. There is the milder unsulphured mollasses and the blackstrap molasses. The blackstrap molasses has a much stronger flavor. I have always used Grandma’s Original Molasses which is the gold label one. There is a difference in the age of the sugar cane from which the molasses is made which accounts for the difference in the two types. When you are cooking, please stick to the lighter molasses. Blackstrap molasses is really dark and thick like tar. The flavor is really strong and a tiny bit will go quite a long way. With the regular molasses, the flavor is sweeter and lacking the bitter taste of the blackstrap. You will ruin your recipe if you use blackstrap. If the recipe calls for blackstrap molasses (like my mother’s baked bean recipe), you are normally only using a tablespoon or two. So please make sure you are using the regular molasses. And you will find it in the grocery store normally where you will find the syrups. Some people use it on their pancakes and waffles.
roughly 4 pounds of apples (I used 4 Granhy Smiths, 3 Ginger Golds, & 1 Honey Crisp)
Wash and quarter the apples.Do not peel the apples because you want the natural pectin in the peels! Cut out the cores. Use your food processor and shred the apples in batches. Ad the food proceeder bowl fills, dump the shredded apples into a large Dutch oven.(I use my Le Crueset one.) As you add the shredded apples, toss them with about 1 cup of apple cider and 1/2 cup of bottled lemon juice. And do not worry if it seems like you are over filling the pan. The apple shreds will cook down.
Add 4 to 5 ginger coins at this point and 2 cinnamon sticks. You do not need to peel the ginger. I cut about a 3 inch piece of ginger and than sliced it lengthwise.
Cover the shredded apples and cook over medium heat until they start to cook down. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. I found it took about 30 minutes over medium heat on my stove. The apples will release a lot of juice and you really do want them to start to dissolve and cook down.
After the apples have started to cook down, start adding the sweeteners. I added a total of 1 cup of molasses in 1/2 cup increments. I allowed the mixture to come back to a simmer before the second half cup.
Add the spices -
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (use 1/4 teaspoon if using ground nutmeg)
I combined all of my spices and added them at once.
Between each addition, bring the mixture back up to a simmer.
I adding another 3/4 of a cup of white sugar after the spices. Check your apples for sweetness after adding the molasses. By using the Granny Smiths, I knew my apples would need a bit more sugar. I wanted the jam sweet but with a touch of tartness to it. I would not add more than 1 cup of sugar total.
Cook the apple mixture down until it is jammy. Or you can either use an immersion blender or transfer half of the mixture to a blend and puree it until it kind of looks like applesauce. Make sure you pick out any ginger slices and the cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture back up to a simmer again. Taste test it to make sure you like the flavor and adjust any spices if needed.
While waiting for the mixture to come back to a simmer, mince about 1/2 cup of crystalized ginger.
Once the mixture is back to a simmer, pull it off the heat and stir in the minced crystalized ginger. Follow standard canning procedures and fill your jars with the hot mixture. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes and allow to cool. I ended up with 10 8 ounce jars total.
And I have been knitting! I started the toe of a sock September 30 so I would be ready for the beginning of Socktoberfest. I am already past the heel and up on the leg of the sock. I knit this one from the outside of the wound ball. Once I have the leg about 2 inches tall, I plan to start the second sock pulling from the center. This way I will hopefully have a better chance of the stripes being similar!