Apple Jam With Allspice & Chilli Flakes
I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve been suddenly struck with an urge to make jams and pickles! It could be that I haven’t done any preserving for a while, or that the weather has taken a slightly cooler turn, or maybe it’s just that my local vegetable and fruit market is suddenly bursting at the seams with all manners of fresh produce.
I know that my mind turned to the thought of making Apple Jam because I saw a post on Anita’s FB page about the jam she had made a little while ago. I’m not sure if it was sheer coincidence or a sign of some sort that I had a fruit basket full of apples and no one here seemed to making much of an effort to help me finish them off.
I make all my jams without preservatives, and do not even add pectin or citric acid. To me this means that what we get in our jams is all the goodness of the fruit. On the flipside it does mean that my jams might not last as long, so I make smaller batches and refrigerate them and we enjoy them for as long as they last. Once the jams are gone, and have my stash of frozen fruit, I then put my heart and soul into looking forward to the next season when fresh fruit will make their appearance.
Of course, nowadays when it comes to apples, once the season for the Indian apples (the best in terms of freshness, in my opinion) is over we can still find the imported kinds from China, the US, Australia, New Zealand and Chile. It’s a different matter that it’s anybody’s guess whether uniformly shaped and sized, waxed, shiny apples that stay on your counter for weeks together (longer if refrigerated) without spoiling are really worth buying and eating.
Apples are naturally rich in pectin which makes them the perfect fruit to preserve as jam the way I do. You can avoid citric acid by using lime juice instead which works by increasing pectin and acid apart from preventing fruit from turning brown.
I must also mention that even my daughter who is not a fan of "spiced" jams or preserves in general, couldn't resist this one. Seeing my raised eyebrows at her constantly dipping a spoon into the jam jar, looking a bit surprised herself, she just said "There's something about this jam that's irresistible. I really like it!"
- Wash, core and peel the apples. Cube/ dice them and add the lime juice and toss so that they’re well coated. Keep aside. If you peel the apples such that you have long strips of peel, you can add this to the pot while the jam is cooking as the pectin in apples is mostly in the peel. Once the jam is done, you can just take the peel out and throw it away.
- In a large pan/ pot, put the apple pieces and the sugar and 1/4 cup of water. Stir everything until the sugar dissolves. Add the allspice, chilli flakes and salt. Once it comes to a boil, turn down the heat and let the mixture simmer until the apples are cooked and very soft, and the jam is quite thick. Stir occasionally while the jam is cooking.
- Add the butter and mix well. Let it cool, and then transfer the jam to a sterile glass jar and cover. Refrigerate. This recipe makes one medium sized jar of jam. Double or triple the ingredients for a larger batch of jam.
*You can use any variety of sweet apples. Firmer apple varieties will not soften as much as the softer ones, and if you use a mixture of the two you can have a jam with chunks of apple in it.
**Depending how sweet your apples are, and how sweet you like your jam. I used just under 3/4 cup.