chunky apple jam

2-3 230g jars — 50 minutes

Every fall we volunteer with a local organization to pick apples on private property that would normally go to waste. This year we got a lot of fruit so we decided to process some. We are not huge fans of compote, but we do like chunky-style jams.


We can't say for certain what kind of apple we picked, they looked like spartans or fujis, either way they are sweet and crisp and lend well to jams.

Botulism? In the word of Kevin West, acidity is the enemy of botulism. Foods that have a pH below 4.6, high-acid foods like apples, blueberries, strawberries (and many more) are completely safe, they have sufficient natural acidity to safeguard us against the risk of botulism. Despite this, it is still necessary to process the clean jars after filling them with jam.

Jam doneness

Apples normally have enough natural pectin to gel. Is my jam ready to take off the heat? There are three methods:

Temperature Test: Take the temperature of the jelly with a candy or jelly thermometer. When done, the temperature of the jelly should be 100°C if you are at sea level. NOTE: For each 305 m of altitude above sea level, subtract 2 degrees. For instance, at 305 m of altitude, the jelly is done at 100°C; at 610 m, 102°C, etc

Spoon or Sheet Test. Dip a cool metal spoon into the boiling jelly mixture and lift the spoon out of the steam so the syrup runs off the side. When the mixture first starts to boil, the drops will be light and syrupy. As the syrup continues to boil, the drops will become heavier and will drop off the spoon two at a time. When the two drops form together and sheet off the spoon, the jellying point has been reached.

Refrigerator/Freezer Test. Pour a small amount of boiling jelly on a plate, and put it in the freezing compartment of a refrigerator for a few minutes. If the mixture gels, it should be done. During this test, the rest of the jelly mixture should be removed from the heat [ref].

Sugar. Adding too little sugar may cause the jam to ferment. In this recipe, we added demerara sugar (it's what we had on hand) so this why the jam is dark. We like it because it has plenty of molasses in it, lending the jam a deep and pleasant toffee-esque flavor. Feel free to use other varieties of sugar, especially if you prefer a lighter-colored jam, or if you don't like the flavor of molasses.

Recommended Process Time

When processing jars in a boiler canner, the time varies depending on the altitude where you live. For this recipe (hot pack) the recommended time for those living from 0 - 305 m (0 - 1,000 ft) is 10 minutes, but the National Center for Food Preservation recommends 5 minutes, I do the longer time to avoid having to pre-boil the jars. For 305 m - 1829 m (1,001 - 6,000 ft) the time is 10 minutes, and 15 minutes for anyone above 1829 m (6,000 ft).

Sterilizing Empty Jars

It is unnecessary to presterilize jars for fruits, tomatoes, and pickled or fermented foods that will be processed 10 minutes or longer in a boiling-water canner.


apple900 g
lemon juice60 ml
natural brown sugar900 g
cardamom4 pods, ground