For the longest time, I’ve had it in my mind to make an gingery apple jam. I wanted something that had a true gingery punch, but wasn’t so spicy that it wouldn’t still go nicely with a buttered piece of toast. I pondered whether I could make a jam with nothing more than apple, ginger and sugar, without some other fruit in there to smooth things out. Then, one night, in the chaotic days before Christmas, I decided that I couldn’t simply think about it for another minute. I just had to do it.
I used six large apples (a mix of local cameos and a couple golden delicious). They were peeled by hand (I’ve learned the hard way that apple skins never play nicely in jam), but, being that I embarked upon this particular jam journey well past 9 p.m., I used the grater blade on my hand-me-down food processor to break down the apples. In my initial jam vision, they were hand-diced into neat quarter-inch cubes, but that would have added a good hour to my process, so I went down a different path.
One of the things that kept me from making this jam for so long was that I just wasn’t sure how to impart the best ginger flavor. I briefly pondered using powdered or candied ginger, before determining that I wanted the clarity of fresh ginger, but without any little woody bits. So I sliced approximately 3/4 of a pound of a firm ginger root into approximate rounds and pureed them in my Vitamix with a cup of water, until all I had was the ginger pulp you see below. Drained through several layers of cheesecloth (don’t be afraid to squeeze), I got almost exactly two cups of gingery liquid.
I combined the eight cups of grated apple with the two cups of ginger liquid and five cups of sugar. It cooked together for approximately a half hour (some ugly grey foam appeared on top, which I skimmed off), until the bubbles on top of the jam looked thick and syrupy and it was 218 degrees (I couldn’t get it to 220, which is the commonly accepted jam point, but it looked good enough to me).
The jam filled about six pints (with a little leftover) and achieved essentially what I was after. A sticky, gingery apple jam. I do think that I’ll continue to play around with this recipe, as all by itself, apple isn’t the world’s best jammer. I’d love to find some fruit that doesn’t have an aggressive flavor but jams beautifully (I’m wondering if adding a single quince might suit my purpose here). But it sure looks nice and tastes good on that slice of buttered toast.
The organized recipe is after the jump…
- 8 cups chopped or grated apples
- 5 cups sugar
- 2 cups ginger liquid see description above
- Combine apples, sugar and ginger liquid in a large, non-reactive pot (use something that can hold at least six quarts, to give your jam space to bubble). Bring to a boil. Skim the foam off the surface of the jam with a large slotted spoon. Let the jam boil, stirring frequently for 25-30 minutes, until the rising bubbles look thick and stick.
- If you have a instant read or candy thermometer, use it to check the temperature of the jam. You're hoping for 220 degrees (although I stopped at 218 and my jam has a nice, soft set).
- When the jam has achieved the desired temperature and consistency, fill jars, wipe rims, apply lids and tighten rings. Process in a boiling water bath form 10 minutes.
- Let the jam sit for 24 hours, then check the seals by removing the rings and lifting the jars by the lid. A good seal means that the lids will hold fast.
Oooh, this looks great! I got a canning kit for Christmas and I’ve been wondering what I could do that was seasonal and delicious for it’s first use.
Sounds delicious. Mr Chiots is a big fan of anything gingery, so I bet this would be a hit in this household!
I made apricot-ginger jam this past summer, and did not use as much ginger as you did (although I didn’t measure it)and got a very spicy, yummy jam. I keep my ginger in the freezer, cutting it into approximately 1″ pieces, wrapped in waxed paper and taped, inside a freezer bag. To peel it, I thaw it briefly in the microwave, and the peel is easily removed. Rather than grate it or chop it, I put it with a cup of sugar in the food processor (metal blade)and process it until the ginger is pureed into the sugar (a golden yellow color and heavenly fragrant). I use the same technique when making ginger cookies. Just mix the ginger sugar into whatever you’re making, as though you were adding plain sugar. No big deal, really fast, without losing one drop of ginger flavor.
Do you add any liquid to it? How much? How much ginger in proportion to how much sugar should work? I really love this idea a lot! 🙂
I made a Peach-Pineapple-Ginger Jam this summer. I used about 1″ of fresh ginger and I finely minced it, and stirred into the peach/pineapple mixture. (For all my peach jams, I simmered my peaches on the stove, and then used my immersion blender to make a puree. For this one, I added a large can of crushed pineapple in natural juice.)
If I make this next year, I was thinking of doubling the ginger. Or maybe I’ll try your ginger juice method.
What a great idea to make ginger juice, rather than adding the pulp! I hope you don’t mind if I borrow it. 🙂
You mentioned that you were looking for a good jamming fruit that wasn’t too assertive… Have you tried bartlett pears? I threw together a batch of “spiced” pear jam just before Christmas & it turned out great! I mashed 12 pears, added a bit of pumpkin pie spice, an equal weight of sugar, and cooked it until it reached 218 degrees or so. It was way better than I expected, and I ended up hoarding the jars instead of gifting them! The pears gave a sweet jammy, fruity flavor, but weren’t really overtly “pearish”.
I like your idea, Fran’s Mom. I also keep my ginger in pieces in my freezer.
Marisa, I admire your experimenting with jam. It looks delicious.
Hi Marisa. You always say that you *love* canning questions – so here’s one for you. I recently posted on Freecycle and got lots of donations of canning jars. One woman gave me a bag of what looks like brand new jars – with lids and rings attached. Is there a way for me to test if the lids are still new/usable? Or do I just bite the bullet and use new lids?
APPLE-GINGER!!! Oh my gosh I cannot wait to try this-soon! Thanks Marisa.
Fran’s Mom, I love the idea of processing ginger in with sugar. I will definitely have to try that.
Daisy Mae, your Peach Pineapple Ginger Jam sounds wonderful. Your question about the lids is sort of tricky. There’s no good way to test to see if lids have been used before, beyond a visual inspection (which is not a particularly trustworthy way to check). Best practices would be to chuck them out and buy fresh lids (no matter how much it makes you cringe at the waste). It is your food your messing with, after all.
Jess, I like the idea of adding a pear or two to the mix!
Being conservative, I would visually inspect the lids. If they look good, use them. If they don’t seal, you can always reprocess the jam with a new lid.
This is probably going to sound massively dorktastic, but I’ve noticed a different SOUND between used lids and unused ones (I got some mixed up, until I learned to take a sharpie marker and put a big X across the lid of any jar I open, if I don’t have any of those white plastic lids). Hold it with your fingertips by the edges and push down, gently, with your thumb from the top side. If it makes a high-pitched, clicky sort of “pick-pock” sound, it’s good to go. If it makes a lower-pitched clonking sound, it’s used and no good – or rather, it’s up to you whether you want to take a shot at it. Try it for yourself with a lid straight from the box and a known used lid. (Put the “dead” lids in the metal recycling, or mark them so you won’t use them again and punch holes in them with a nail, string them on coat-hangers like mobiles, and hang them around your garden to annoy the deer.)
I will admit I HAVE reused some lids that had been on the jar only a day or so – I wasn’t happy with my tasting jar, so I very, very carefully opened them all back up, dumped the jam back in the pot, fixed the jam, poured it back into the washed-of-course jars, lids back on, reprocessed, seals all good, happy happy joy joy. The lovely folks at Pomona’s (I love their product, it’s practically idiotproof because most mistakes short of burning your fruit can be fixed, and since I can often be an idiot…) said it was worth trying, so I did. I am not advocating anyone else do that, just relating an anecdote. 🙂
And yes, I’m sighing over the idea of apple-gingery-goodness. But, I’m also sighing over your Vitamix. *sigh* TOTALLY on my list of things I must obtain!
I wonder if a version of Apple Butter or Pear Butter might be what you are looking for. More cooking time but a thick, spreadable, spicey result. Note: if you use a good cooking apple, like gravenstein or pippin, you don’t have to grate or chop so much. Quartered and simmered until tender, they will fall apart when stirred. Or if you have a food mill, just quarter and core, the skins will come off when you put them through the mill, and the skins provide pectin to the mixture, which aids in setting up.
Thanks for the suggestion, Evalyn. I’ve made many batches of fruit butters over the years, so I knew that wasn’t what I was going for. But I am considering cooking some apples down into a very chunky sauce and then adding gingered sugar, to see if that will get me the texture and consistency I’m going for.
You’re looking for the right fruit, eh? Have I got the fruit for you! This summer I made delicious ginger melon sauce (it was supposed to be a jam, but the power went out for more than an hour, so by the time I brought it back to a boil, I just decided to can it). I used 3 melons from the farmer’s market that each resembled a cantaloupe, a honeydew, and a watermelon, each about the same size as a small honeydew. Modeling my recipe slightly off of this http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/2004/03/lime_and_ginger_melon_jam.php, I seeded and chunked the melons. I peeled and minced the ginger and added sugar and lemon juice (and maybe some lime juice, I don’t remember). After it had cooked a while, I used the immersion blender sparingly–I didn’t want it pureed but a couple of the types of melon needed help breaking down from big chunks into the desired little chunks. I got 6 cups of orange jam/sauce with some red and light green chunks and tiny white and brown flecks. We just opened the first can this week and poured it over vanilla ice cream and vanilla greek yogurt, and I must say I’m very happy with it. After several months sitting in sugary juice, the occasional ginger chunks now taste like candied ginger, and are a pleasant surprise that I would have missed had the ginger been pureed. The melon is a perfect compliment to the ginger; one second you’re tasting the warm, spicy ginger and in the next the sweet, tangy melon floods your tastebuds. Purists would probably want it all pureed, because the melon stayed quite crunchy (especially the honeydew), but that’s actually what I love about it. You have this delicious sauce filled with crunchy texture, and it’s not until you bite down do you know if you have a ginger or a melon piece. This is one of those jam/sauces that makes you taste each bite. It includes sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors, but none of them overwhelm. It also has great texture. Trust me, do this when melons come into season.
I like that you grated the apple. I did a pear ginger preserve recently and diced it. Very chunky. Which is not bad at all, but I think I might grate it next time. Sounds grate! (Umm. Sorry.)
Apple jam – I’m going to have to try that sometime. I’ve only made crabapple jelly, but jam would be wonderful.
Last summer I made spiced peach jam, with ginger and cloves and cinnamon. It was so, so good. Good on toast and good with vanilla ice cream!
Oh, I made some spiced apple syrup for Christmas gifts last year, too.Apples spiced with cinnamon and cloves and with maple syrup. I forget exactly how it went. It was in a magazine (a Canadian magazine). It was fantastic on pancakes.
Wow, this looks so yummy. It’s on my to-do list now!
Oh my! That was so clever how you made the ginger pulp. I too have pondered how to get ginger in without the weird ginger texture or having ginger chunks. This was the perfect solution. I can’t wait to try it!
I have just watched a really interesting programme about UK home style cooking and thought you might like to know that people of my grandparents’ generation apparently would often complain when they were our age, that bought jam was ‘all apples’, particularly marmalade. During the war, and I suppose for a while after, there just wasn’t any citrus to make marmalade with. Apples were homegrown and cheap – jam makers could use windfalls to bulk up whatever other fruits they were jamming.
I’m thinking maybe this is why you can never really buy apple jams, at least in the UK: maybe there has been a stigma!
Yours looks nice though 🙂
Great recipe. I added about 4 TBS of lemon juice and a handful of currents to spice it up a bit.
strawberry goes great with apple. It makes a great jam.
Sloes are excellent with apple jam, ie add about half the weight of the apples in sloes and strain through seive after cooking – yum!
a WOW combination!!! thank you for the recipe. did u do anything to prevent the scraped apples from turning brown? or is it ok if they do?
I made this batch tonight and added half a lime and some fresh nutmeg. About three quarters through the cooking time, the apples were not breaking down so I removed the pot from the heat and pureed it with an immersion blender. Within a few minutes of being back on the heat, the whole mass took on a dark caramel color and the became very sticky. I think it will be okay, but may be too thick to spread on bread. Any suggestions on what happened?
Update on the apple-ginger jam: it indeed is too stiff to spread. But my, is it tasty! I’m thinking now that if I can get it out of the jar in a reasonable mass, that I could cut it into bite size pieces and roll in powdered sugar as a candy. Again, any suggestions on what happened would be helpful. The temperature did not get past 210. I did mistakenly add some of the ginger pulp; could that be the culprit?
Michelle, it sounds like it cooked too long. I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you, though.
Depending on your altitude, the temperature can vary. I live at high altitude and since the boiling point is lower at high altitude, I have to adjust most recipes and cook them to a lower temperature. If you are much above sea level that could contribute the overcooking.
I had the same problem .. not totally unspreadable, but thick and dark for sure. is it still safe to eat? tastes great just not jam-like consistency.
Sounds like the jam overcooked. It is fine and safe, just thicker.
Wow. I tweaked it a bit, but it turned out amazing. I’ve only canned once before this and was really nervous about making jam, but we have seven apple trees and they had to be used. I’m going to be making a lot more because it simmered down quite a lot. Thank you so much for the recipe! I love ginger.
3 tbsp Lemon
2 cups Brown sugar
1.5 cups White sugar
a dash of nutmeg
1.5 cups Ginger liquid
10 cups Apples
I was watching the temperature and at one point I did have to beat it with the blender to break up the apples. I don’t have a food processor so they were chopped finely, but not shredded.
I used this jam recipe when I was teaching a group of friends how to make jam and put it up last fall. Over the winter, I served it over goat cheese with crackers, used it to glaze pork chops and, of course, ate it on toast and in a PB and J. It’s that versatile! Just picked up my 20 lbs of apples from the orchard, and plan to start this year’s batch today!
I made this jam and since you suggested adding additional fruit, I added a bag of frozen, pitted cherries. I only used half the ginger juice because I didn’t want it to be overpowering. I love it! Thanks for the recipe. What a great idea!
About to try this recipe! Why no lemon in this jam? Acid not necessary?
Im looking for a straight ginger jam or marmalade canning recipe. Example like Robertson Ginger Marmalade. Do you have any ideas…….. I LOVE ginger. thanks and I will definitely try your apple ginger jam.
I am new to canning and just made my first batch of apple jam. I followed a different receipe that called for butter, but accidentally used way more than I was supposed to. The jam did set and the cans sealed. What I am worried about is if the butter content will cause any issues long term. Just trying to decide if it will keep, or if I need to make a bunch of Apple pies so the jam doesn’t go to waste.
I gave this a try tonight, but I measured the apples wrong: Eight cups of cubed apples is NOT the same as eight cups of grated apples, and I’d have realized this at the start if I weren’t in the throes of Christmas canning madness, and -determined- that I had enough apples to make it work! I salvaged the cook time with an immersion blender (though I think the texture lent by grated apples and no immersion would be more appealing!)… but in consequence of my error, I wound up with not quite four pints of finished jam, instead of six. Since this meant proportionally more ginger liquid, and (according to Dr. Google) ginger is alkaline, I got nervous about the pH and threw my processed jars in the fridge.
The set was really soft, but it tastes delicious – too bad I have to file it under “experiment” instead of “awesome gift jam.” Then again, I guess I’ll just have to keep most of it for myself…. In terms of salvage batches, not too shabby. I definitely want to try it again with the right proportions!
So sorry that you had some issues with this recipe. And no worries about the acidity, apples have plenty despite the ginger.
I’ve made ginger jam with pears – it’s like honey gingery goodness! Have loads of apples so am going to give this a go. Thanks!
Made this today but added some candied ginger as well. I whirred the candied ginger up in my Vitamix with a generous amount of the sugar from the recipe. That way the ginger didn’t stick to the blades. I love the apples, gingery flavor and can’t wait to use it on a pork roast.
Hi there. Just tried a low sugar plum jam, with pectin. I used ginger juice as you did in this apple jam. I’m afraid it’s not setting, still a bit warm but no sign of thickening. Thoughts? By the way, I’m a neighbor of your folks.
Hi Doug! My mom (who is here in Philly right now) says hi! Did you use pectin for your low sugar jam? What was your process?
This did not make a jam for me. I think the apples needed cooking for longer before adding sugar. And more liquid needed
Anyway rhe puree was nice with yoghurt
So sorry this didn’t work for you.
Question? Can I use less sugar &add a little orange or lime zest?
You can certainly add some citrus zest. Reducing sugar is a more complicated question, because sugar plays an important role in consistency and shelf life. I suggest you read this pair of posts and then make your own decision.