It was at least two years ago that I started imagining an apple jam with a bit of sinus-clearing horseradish for punch. I made note of it on my running list of recipe ideas and promptly moved on to other things. Each time I returned to that list for inspiration or to add a new idea, I’d spot it and promise myself that I’d try it soon. But it just didn’t happen.
Finally, back in December I got myself a knob of fresh horseradish and set out to see what an apple horseradish jam might taste like. Of course, as these things so often work out, I didn’t actually end up making jam. Instead, I made a conserve (anytime you add dried fruit or nuts to jam, it becomes a conserve).
You see, there was a bag of golden raisins on the counter as I was cooking, and I ended up adding a couple palmfuls for sweetness and texture. After a few tastes, I determined that it needed some vinegar for balance, a scattering of mustard seeds to compliment the horseradish, and just a little bit of cayenne fire.
The resulting preserve lands somewhere in between a jam and a chutney. You get the apple and raisin flavors in the beginning, but the bite will always finish with the horseradish and heat asserting themselves. I’m not sure that I’ve given up on the idea of a straight apple horseradish jam (or jelly!), but I’m really pleased with how this conserve turned out. It’s particularly good with cheese or eaten alongside bites of crisp roast potato.
A word about safety and acid levels. Horseradish is a lower acid food. Apples are quite high in acid. This preserve is made almost entirely of apples, with vinegar and lemon juice adding to the acid load. As it’s written, it is quite safe. However, please resist the temptation to increase the amount of horseradish, as that could lead to an unsafe preserve.
Apple Horseradish Conserve
- 6 cups applesauce simmer 5-6 peeled and cored apples with a little water until tender and mashable
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup freshly grated horseradish
- Zest and juice of two lemons
- 1 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Prepare a boiling water bath and enough jars to hold 6 cups of conserve. Place lids in a small pan of water and bring to a bare simmer.
- In a large, wide pot, combine the apple sauce, sugar, vinegar, raisins, horseradish, lemon zest and juice, mustard seeds, salt, and cayenne pepper.
- Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring regularly, until the volume has reduced and the conserve doesn't look at all watery. My batch took approximately 45 minutes to cook down.
- Taste conserve and add a splash more lemon juice, a pinch more salt, or a bit more cayenne pepper, if you so desire.
- Funnel conserve into prepared jars. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and place on a folded kitchen towel.