Have I ever mentioned my love of mulled spices? I surely must have because there are fewer things I love more. I’ve been wanting to make jam for a while and been pondering what flavour to make. I quite fancied going crazy and making banana & chocolate jam, or getting tropical and making pineapple & passion fruit jam but then I decided that my favourite crumble filling; apple & berry (blackberries, raspberries, black & red currants), would make for a delicious, deep jam. Then I fondly thought about my favourite ever jam flavour, plum and mulled wine, and it was decided that adding mulled spices into the mix could only make it better.
A confession: This is the first time I’ve ever made jam on my own. Usually I have my jam oracle/big sister doing it with me, guiding me step by step. Having paid attention each time I decided to finally make the leap. I am pleased to report that it was a success.
So here is my recipe for spiced apple and berry jam; the product of weeks of meaning to make jam and not quite getting around to it. I was finally prompted to as I had wanted to make some as a gift for a friend.
- Approximately 12 jars, saved from the recycling, washed in hot soapy water and left to dry.
- 1kg of frozen summer berries (or berries of your choice, they don’t have to be frozen but this is a much cheaper way of buying berries by the kilogram)
- 1kg of peeled, cored and sliced Bramley apples (weight after slicing etc)
- 2kg of jam sugar
- 2 mulled wine spice sachets
- 1.5 tsp of cinnamon
- 0.75 tsp of ginger
- 0.5 tsp of cloves
- 0.5 tsp of nutmeg
- In a large, heavy bottomed pan on a medium-high heat, cook the fruit until the apple begins to break down and is at the consistency that you want for your jam. Add the two mulled wine sachets at the same time as the fruit, preferably tied to the handle of the pot if they are the strung type.
- Once the fruit is at the consistency you want (you may want to mash it to help with this), stir in the jam sugar. Put a small plate in the freezer.
- Add a jam thermometer and bring to the boil, you want to heat the mixture to as close to 105°C as possible. Stir occasionally.
- Whilst the mixture is simmering, you may want to gently spoon off any of the foam/scum that forms on the top. This is optional but makes for a clearer jam at the end.
- Stir in the spices and remove the sachets.
- Once you get the jam to as near as temperature as you can, using a teaspoon, drip a few spots of jam onto the cold plate and place in the fridge for a minute or so. If the jam appears to set in this time then the jam is hot enough and will set.
- Once this stage is reached, remove the jam from the heat and decant into jars. There are many ways of doing this but easiest is with a jug, ladle and jam funnel. Be careful not to burn yourself! The jam is over 100°C.
- Once jarred, place the lids onto the jars and screw them shut. You may need an oven glove to do this as the jars will be hot.
- Leave the jam to set.
- Give a few jars to your friends, as you couldn’t possibly eat 12 jars of jam yourself, could you…