Honey Lemon Apple Jam Recipe

For months now, I’ve been working on finding a way to make a jam from apples that is satisfying and, well, jammy. The problem with apples is if you try and cook them raw with sugar, which is the way you approach the fruit in most jam recipes, the apples don’t break down. They stay hard and firm, releasing little of their sugars and leaving you with a final product that is closer to marmalade than jam.

chopped apples

In some recipes, such as my Cranberry-Apple Jam, this isn’t such a bad thing. The cranberries and sugar do the jammy work, and the apples add nice texture and mouthfeel. But up until down, I’ve found that making a good jam with apples as the primary fruit just hasn’t been all that great (I did get close with my Apple-Ginger Jam, but it still wasn’t quite right). That is, until now.

This time, I cooked the apples down into a sauce with two cups of lemon juice before adding the sugar. And this did the trick. I got close to the texture I wanted from the fruit before I added the sugar (ensuring I’d get what I wanted once the sugar and honey was added), and I was able to infuse the tart flavor of the lemons fully into the jam to boot (this is a great way to get a whole variety flavors into jam, I’m already envisioning lavender, more ginger or chai spices).

honey lemon apple jam

You may be wondering why I’m so excited to find a good apple jam technique. Well, apples are cheap, abundant and store really well. I overbought at the fall farmers’ markets and so had an entire crisper drawer full that needed to be used (and I have plenty of applesauce and butter already stashed away). And, I just like apples. I think they’re endlessly adaptable and knew there was a way to make them do jam nicely.

hand written recipe

Before, I jump to the recipe, I want to talk pectin. I do include one envelope (half of the contents of a box) of liquid pectin in this recipe. However, many apples are naturally high in pectin. If you’re working with green or under-ripe apples, you might not need to add any pectin. But if you’re using old apples that have been in your fridge for a couple of months, adding a little pectin is good insurance that your jam will have a good set.

Honey Lemon Apple Jam

Ingredients

  • 12 cups chopped apples
  • 2 cups lemons juice (I used a combination of freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice and bottled)
  • 2 cups honey
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 envelope of liquid pectin (can be omitted if you use a few firm, green apples)
  • zest of three lemons

Instructions

  1. Prepare your canning pot, as well as seven pint jars, lids and rings.
  2. Combine the chopped apples and lemon juice in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (an enameled Dutch oven works well here) and cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the apples have broken down. When you’ve got a nice, chunky applesauce, add the honey and sugar and stir to incorporate.
  3. Bring the fruit to a boil and cook for at least five minutes at a roll (watch out though, it will bubble and depending on the size of your pot, can get a little splashy). Add pectin and boil for a few minutes more, to active the pectin. When it seems nice and jammy, turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest.
  4. Fill jars, wipe rims (this jam is sticky, so you may need to add a bit of white vinegar to your towel, to help ensure a clean rim), apply lids and screw on bands. Process in a boiling water canner for ten minutes (if you are above 1,000 feet in altitude, adjust your processing time accordingly).
  5. Eat on toast, spoon on muffins or use to glaze roasted chicken pieces.
https://foodinjars.com/recipe/honey-lemon-apple-jam-recipe/

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116 responses to “Honey Lemon Apple Jam Recipe”

  1. This looks delectable! I am so happy to see yet another way to use apples. My kids adore them and already eat at least two a day. So this should make them very, very happy. Thanks!

    • The picture looks like she used a combination. You can use either size as well depending on your personal use. If you don’t have many people in the house you may want to use only half pints so that the jar will get eat up before they get moldy in the frig. You might want to make them for gift giving so half pints will be perfect as well. Pints are great if this was for a bottom filling in a fruit tart or used there was a lot of mouths to feed.

  2. I’m so glad to hear that you all like the sound of this recipe!

    Eleanor, sorry, I tucked the number of jars away in the recipe. It makes seven pint jars.

  3. This does look good- I may give it a go, but do you think I could half the recipe? I have so much other jam to use up! This looks perfectly sunny for the cold middle of winter, and maybe I’ll make a whole recipe anyway on second thought…

  4. My mouth is watering looking at this recipe. I cannot wait to try it this fall. This past fall my father in law brought be 3 pecks of local apples. I was trying everything. Wish I had this back then.

  5. I’d be very interested in how you plan to use lavender with this recipe. I love canning and jelly making. I have a very good recipe for lemon verbena jelly I’d be glad to share. I love your blog. Not many people can much less make jelly and preserves any more. Thank you! Thank you!

      • Here it is. I hope it fits.
        Lemon Verbena Jelly

        Yield 5 6oz jars, 12 tbsps each
        If short on lemon verbena, add lemon balm, I never have done this Subtly flavored lemon jelly is good with scones or toasted brioche or in the
        center of thumbprint butter cookies

        2 cups packed lemon verbena leaves coarsely chopped
        6 strips lemon zest 1/2 x 3 inches
        2 1/4 cups water
        1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
        4 cups granulated sugar
        3 oz liquid pectin

        Put the lemon verbena leaves, lemon zest and water into a medium saucepan.
        Bring to a boil over moderate to high heat, then turn the heat to simmer and
        cover the pan. Cook for 15 min. then remove the pan from the heat and allow to
        stand, covered, for several hours.

        Pour the infusion through a strainer into a large, deep saucepan. Press on
        the leaves to extract all flavor, then discard the leaves and zest. Stir in
        the lemon juice and sugar and bring to a full boil over high heat. Add the
        pectin and return to a full boil, stirring constantly. Continue to boil for 2
        minutes, stirring.

        Remove from heat and skim the foam, if necessary. Ladle the jelly into hot
        sterilized jars. Seal with new lids and metal rings.

  6. This looks insanely good. I’m going to be canning various things for favors in my wedding, and I would love to use this recipe. Thanks for the deliciousness 🙂

  7. I just found your site and I must say I got absolutely sucked in. I started playing around with canning last summer after a fun strawberry picking expedition and I’ve been trying out different things every since. I LOVE the idea of a honey apple jam and I will definitely be making it this weekend. Thank you so much for sharing.

  8. Gosh, I’m so glad to hear that so many of you like this recipe! It really is a good one, and such a handy way to use up lots of apples.

  9. Thank you for this lovely, lovely recipe. I found it after a spot of Googling, having bought home a large box of mixed apples. The honey and lemon flavour are gorgeous. Instead of using the bought pectin liquid, I simmered the cores and skins of the apples for 30 minutes and then used this pectin-loaded “juice” in the jam.

    Boy it’s good. I mean really, really good. Thanks for posting this.

  10. I made this recipe this morning…my, is it delicious! I used fresh Macintosh apples, and I hardly had to cook them for long at all before they got nice and soft. I added two cinnamon sticks to the lemon juice and apple mixture, with probably about 2 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon at the end. It really added a lovely depth of flavor. Yum!

  11. Thankyou very much for posting this. Very tasty jam and a great use of the surplus apples I had. I did not add any pectin and it set just fine. Lime juice works also as I ran out of lemons.

  12. Thank you for this great recipe, it’s deliciously unusual!
    On my side, I have lowered the amount of sugar from 5 cups to 1 cup which is largely enough in my opinion, too much sugar makes it just like a sugary paste.

  13. Thanks for great recipe, i have a question though, I’m in the middle making this jam and i want to cut sugar at least in half instead of 5cups put 2 1/2 i don’t like so much sweet jams. Would it still can properly if it has less sugar??

      • marisa – question on the honey/sugar quantities. your handwritten notes says 1c honey, 5c sugar, but then the recipe itself says 2c honey, 3c sugar. not sure what difference this would make – i’m guessing the sweetness is about the same but does it have any effect on how the jam will gel?

        • The handwritten recipe was my first attempt and the typed recipe is the one that I’ve settled on as my favorite. They both gel well, it’s just a matter of how much honey flavor you want.

  14. Hi! I’ve got some extra transparent apples, and would love to try this jam. However, I don’t have that many. Could I halve this? Thanks!

  15. It was such a pleasure meeting you at the Phoenixville Farmer’s Market yesterday – one taste of this jam and I knew I’d be canning some later in the year when I am up to my ears in apples. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  16. love your site!

    can i use powdered pectin instead, and if yes, how much? i’ve got a couple of boxes already in the house (both regular & low sugar Sure-Jell), and would rather use them up than buy the liquid.

  17. I made this last week after going apple picking and it was my first time making real jam and first time canning. It was delicious! And not as intimidating as I thought it would be. I used 2.5 cups of sugar, mainly since I ran out, and used a package of powdered low-sugar pectin and it came out great. I also only used the zest of two lemons (as that’s what I had in the house) and it still had plenty of lemony flavor. The whole family loves it, including my picky young kids, so I’m planning to make another batch soon!

    I’m wondering what other flavors would be good mixed in. Some cinnamon maybe? Thanks for the recipe!

    • To clarify, I did use 2 cups of honey in addition to the 2.5 cups sugar, so the sugar is not cut in half as a previous comment mentioned.

    • Amarit – did you add the low sugar powdered pectin at the same point in the recipe as Marisa says to add the liquid? i’ve never used liquid and i don’t know if the powdered works the same way.

  18. I made a batch of this lovely jam with a huge bag of Russet apples from my dad’s tree. In hindsight I shouldn’t have added pectin as it’s slightly too set and they were new season’s apples but the flavour is amazing!

    • I made this jam too and it was phenomenal! It has a great tangyness to it! I am new to canning and wasn’t sure if my apples would set on their own so I added pectin, and I think it was it a little too “jammy”. Next time I know:-) Still delish!

    • I use a 100% fruit juice lemon juice like those that are sold at Whole Foods. However, since this recipe doesn’t need the lemon juice for safety, you could also use freshly squeezed.

  19. Made this last night with the last of the apples from my trees. I am sick of working with apples at this point, but so glad I made this! My yield was 5 1/2 pints for some reason. I love lemon jelly but prefer the texture of a jam so am one happy camper!

  20. Am 2/3 of the way thtough about 6 bushels of the golden delicious off my tree. Am curious about doing a ginger apple jam but using this method. Would you recommend less lemon juice to cut down on the tartness?

  21. Is there any particular reason you peeled the apples? I’m inclined to leave them on–more nutrients!–but wondered if there’s a taste advantage to removing them.

    • Apple peels never break down entirely, no matter how much you cook them, so you end up with annoying flakes of peel throughout the entire jam. It’s not my favorite texture, which is why I recommend removing them. However, if that doesn’t bother you, feel free to leave them in.

  22. This looks fabulous! I have a leftover packet of liquid pectin (Ball brand) that needs using, and this is the only apple recipe I can find to use it with! I’m thinking of adding some chopped crystalized ginger… thoughts?

  23. I just made this recipe tonight. Well, I adapted this recipe due to necessity. I had a bag of aging orchard cortlands and macs that needed using, and I was tired of apple butter, chutney and sauce. I liked the idea of citrus with the apples, so I decided to key off this recipe. I ended up with double the apples, 24 cups, chopped. I didn’t have any lemon juice, but I had been give a mess of limes recently, and when I squeezed them I got just about 4 cups. So I cooked the apples down with lime juice instead of lemon. It smelled AMAZING

  24. (continued from above) while it was cooking. The present economy being what it is, however, I had no honey on hand, nor could I afford any. So into this I tossed in 9 cups of white sugar. I knew I wouldn’t get the wonderful flavoring that comes with honey, but this recipe promised to be different enough with the citrus that I figured it would have to hold its own. I didn’t add any flavoring like cinnamon, etc. and I didn’t add any pectin. I cooked this down in an open, oval dutch oven in the oven (apple butter style) at 315 degrees for about 4 hours. It got jammy enough. The flavor of this adaptation is very much “lime forward” and really different and pleasant. The apples create a nice saucy texture, and because I used a slower cooking method and no pectin, the color caramelized down and turned into a beautiful pinky russet. I ended up with 13.5 cups of jam. I had to siphon off 2 cups of it to supercool in a dish in the freezer so my husband can enjoy some tonight. He may be off to the kitchen to toast some bread now to have with his fresh Lime Apple Jam.

  25. I just made this jam. It smelled delicious while it was cooking and came out just the way you described it in your directions. Can’t wait to taste it when it cools!

  26. So, I halved the recipe but only ended up with 4 half-pints instead of 7 :(. I feel like this happens to me pretty much EVERY time I follow a jam recipe! I’m not blaming you at all-obviously, i must be cooking it down WAY too much. Do you have any suggestions for being able to tell when the apples are cooked enough? I waited until it was an apple-sauce type consistency, but as I said I must’ve waited way too long…should the apples still be slightly crispy?

  27. Hi! I accidentally modified this, and it was awesome. 😀 I thinly sliced four homegrown Meyer lemons and soaked them in two cups of water (as for my other less impressive recipe for lemon apple marmalade) in the fridge for a day and a half, then I used that to cook down the apples instead of lemon juice. The flavor is deliiiiicious, wow. I will completely make this again. 😀 Thank you!

  28. Just made this, but without the liquid pectin and not as much sugar. I put in the cores and lemon pips instead, and then sieved the lot after the apple had cooked for a very smooth jam. It had no problem setting, lovely consistency, but a bit too sweet for me as jam ( being more of a marmalade person). I think I will double the lemon next time, but meanwhile it will great as a glaze.

  29. Great recipe! Used fresh Meyer lemon juice plus 2 limes to fill 2 cups. Orange Blossom honey and cane sugar added another dimension of sweet and fragrant to apples w/ a bite of lemon zest on the back of tongue. Jam set up nicely. Thanks for sharing.

  30. I made this with a combination of apples and pears, since I didn’t have enough apples. Cooked down some dried apricots & dried peaches with the lemon juice and then added it to the fruit. Makes a nice fruit conserve.

  31. To us who did not know what verbena was…here are the health benefits of verbena, while including it’s uses; Lemon verbena has a strong lemony smell, both as a fresh and dried plant, and has been used as a flavoring in all types of dishes–salads, stuffings, meat dishes, baked goods and grains–for generations, as well as being a popular tea, notes Sara’s Superb Herbs. The dried leaves of lemon verbena are a prized scented filling for sachets and pillows and a popular ingredient in potpourri mixtures. For most medicinal purposes, users will make a tea by pouring boiling water over the fresh or dried leaves and allowing the concoction to steep for at least five minutes, says the herbal website Ageless. At the end of the steeping time, the leaves are strained out, leaving lemon verbena tea.

    Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/242277-what-are-the-benefits-of-lemon-verbena/#ixzz2548rQaAV

  32. Hi There, just thought I’d share my experience with this recipe. First off, I have to give many thanks for such an easy-to-follow recipe. This was my first time making jam so it is much appreciated. The idea of adding lavender to the recipe really intrigued me so I decided to add about eight lavender sprigs to the apples and lemon as it was cooking down. I then removed them right before jarring because I didn’t want the fibrousness of the plant to end up in the jam. Well, it didn’t really impart it’s flavour all that much. Any suggestions on how better to infuse the lavender? Also, I’d like to mention a cautionary note regarding the lemon. I used the recommended amounts and my batch is so lemony that it’s almost a lemon spread more than it’s apples or honey. The next time, I’ll try halving the lemon quantity and see where it goes. Thanks again for this recipe and I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

    • Make a tea with the lavendar. Boil it in water then remove the plant then use the tea in your jam. Works beautiful. The more lavendar you use, the stronger the flavor will be – just steep it like you do when making tea.

  33. I made this jam for my wedding favors last year and people are putting in orders for this year! Thanks for the great recipe.

  34. I made some apple jam, and what did I do wrong?? That the jam is at the bottom, apples went to the top….. the jam is like it should be but why did the apples go to the top??

    Help if you can…..

    • Emma, some fruits tend to want to float in the jam or syrup. Peaches are especially bad. One thing you can try is to let the jam sit for about 5 – 10 minutes in your jam pot before you put it in the jars. Give it a stir and fill your jars. Another thing I’ve found is if you have your fruit chunks too large, they tend to want to float as well. Hope this helps! Happy jammin’!

    • After you take them out of the water bath canner, turn them upside down for 5 or so minutes. You may have to do this 2x, depending on the batch.

  35. […] loads of Lemon Apple Cinnamon Jam. Siobhan did her own variation of this recipe from Food in Jars [here]. Siobhan doubled the recipe, used 3 tbs of cinnamon, reduced the sugar by 2 cups and swapped out […]

  36. Help! Making this right now and the recipe has 2 different measurements for the sugar/honey!!! 1 cup honey 5 sugar or 2 honey 3 sugar????

  37. Hello!

    I made the recipe last night using Granny Smith apples, Meyer lemons, and sourwood honey. I only got 5 pints. I suppose I need to pre-measure how far up on the pot 5 pints is, so I don’t boil things down too much. Volume might be a better metric than boiling time! It is a little stiff, but tasty. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Here’s the thing about making jam. Yield always varies depending on the fruit you’re using the, size of your pan, and the heat of your stove. So volume isn’t a reliable metric because it will always change. That’s why I give a range for boiling time and recommend that you use a variety of methods to determine the set.

  38. I made this jam last canning season and everyone loved it so much that I am going to make it again! I have some apples that I have stored all winter that I need to use up, so this is the recipe I am going for!

  39. Thanks for this recipe.
    I have heaps of apples that need to be used too.

    Can I use powder pectin? I don’t have the liquid kind, I have the powder.

    • Yes. Whisk the powdered pectin into the sugar and cook it with the fruit from the beginning of the cook time. However, you might be able to omit it entirely, because apples have a great deal of pectin.

  40. This was, without a doubt, the best tasting jam I have ever made. I had jillions of tiny apples from my tree this year that were very flavorful. I couldn’t bear to toss them to the deer. It was a real battle peeling and coring these little apples but the resulting jam was VERY well worth the effort. As I worked on the apples, I placed the chopped apples into a bath of acidic water to keep them from browning. I used 6 Meyer lemons from my tree instead of using part bottled lemon and did add pectin for insurance. My yield was 4 pints and 6 half pints. This recipe will go into my permanent recipe archive. I can’t WAIT to try it as a glaze on chicken and pork. YUMMY. Thanks so much.

    • We just made this one tonight. Used Pricilla variety apples. Not sure how they will do, but they are locally grown in MS and one of the best tasting apples I’ve had in a long time.. I had half a case of apples and HAD to do something with them before they ruined. The honey we used was local too. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  41. Hi
    Just found this site and I just got my canning kettle last week. Now, I want to can everything. This recipe looks so good. I was wondering if the apples could be grated instead of chunks with the same results? I am a newbe so any advice will be appreciated and followed. Thanks

  42. this jam is so, so good. made it last night with about a dozen winesap apples from the scratch & dent pile at the farmers market. i went ahead & used the pectin, since i wasn’t totally confident in the newness of the apples. the flavor is divine! i would describe it as homemade lemon meringue applesauce. i’m not too sad that one jar didn’t seal – i admit to eating (it by) a few spoonfuls already. i was hesitant to make the full batch because 7 pints seemed like an awful lot… SO very glad i did. i will be proudly giving away the ones that DID seal at christmas time. made 3 pints and 6 half-pints of sunny yellow deliciousness.

  43. I live in Marquette, Mi and the Meyer Lemon is not available here. Want to make this and wondering what modification to recipe would be necessary if using regular lemons?

    • There’s no need to use Meyer lemons in this recipe. I originally made it with a combination of Meyer and regular lemon juice, but since then have made it exclusively with regular old lemon juice and it was just fine.

        • I made a batch of this today and am not disappointed. The Wolf River apples I used held up, and with the honey and lemon, the flavor is just right with tart and sweet. A stand-out of flavor in this unique blend!

  44. Marisa,

    I just made this jam, it turned out wonderful, but I have a couple of Q’/comments.

    Why do you use more sugar in your book?
    I didn’t put pectin in, I just made a little cheescloth package with the apple cores and the lemons seeds. I took it out and squeezed it before putting in the sugar and honey. The end product is perfectly jammy!
    I put in a vanilla bean in one jar and a piece of ginger in another. Do you have any suggestions how long I should let that steep?

    Thank you!!

    • I used more sugar in the book because I thought it turned out better that way. As far as the vanilla bean and ginger, I’d taste them after a day or two, and see how you like the flavor.

  45. I really want to make this! I am curious what kind of apples you used for this recipe… some apples tend to break down all the way which is what you want if you’re making applesauce, some hold their shape which is what you want for pies. It sounds as if you cooked the apples with the lemon to force them to break down, but not all the way so that it’s a bit chunky. Thank you.

  46. have been making apple butter for years and playing with peels and cores to make an apple honey. This sounds wonderful! Have found fig jam freezes well as well as butters (apple, plum, peach). Have you tried freezing your jam? Yes/No?? Plan to try it soon and will probably experiment with freezing.

  47. This jam is one of my favorites! So good. Similar to apple sauce, but DEFINITELY different. Very lemony. Great spread on top of chicken breast and baked.

    • Stock pots aren’t the best vessels for making jams and jellies, because they inhibit evaporation and you want to encourage evaporation. If possible, you want to opt for a low, wide pan.

  48. Would it be possible to halve this recipe? Or even some of your other full recipes? I love your small batch recipes, and I know you aren’t really supposed to decrease the size of full recipes, do you have any tips or guides on how to make a small batch recipe similar to this and your other apple jams? Thanks! I love your work!

    • Yep, go ahead and cut this recipe in half. Nearly all of my larger batch recipes can easily and safely be divided in half. Just do the math. The warnings about changing recipes have more to do with increasing recipe size and altering proportions, than simply cutting recipes in half. You might also want to check a copy of my book, Preserving by the Pint, out of the library. It contains 100 really small batch recipes.

  49. This recipe looks perfect now that apples are appearing at the farmers markets again. If I wanted to use half-pint jars or jelly jars instead of pints, how should I adjust the time (if at all)? Thanks so much!

  50. This is delicious!
    My taste is less sweet, so I reduced the sugar by 1/3. I also added some raw ginger (peeled and finely chopped (65 gms) with the lemon peel (which I added with the sugar and honey).
    YUM!
    p.s. I used natural sugar as I don’t like bleached food, but will use white sugar in the future as this sugar turned the jam to a light brown color.

  51. This was absolutely delicious and it helped me make good use of the applies from my tree, which I think are called “goodchild”. However, I found that although the mixture looked like it was going to set just fine, the processing after jarring made it more runny. Is that processing necessary, given the mixture starts out so hot and the jars are sterilized? I don’t recall processing other jams I’ve made, but I admit it has been a while!

    • Current wisdom is that all things need to be processed in a boiling water bath canner, including jams. Additionally, this one should firm back up after a day or two of cooling and sitting. Mine always have.

  52. Thank you for this recipe! we made it with great success today (using fresh squeezed lemons and honey crisp apples we picked about 1 month ago). The end product taste very lemony, of honey and apples. quite unconventional. We did add some pectin as insurance. Not sure if it was necessary. Based on the test tasters in our home, we would call this more attuned to an adult palate.

    We are thinking of trying to make a more “typical” apple pie flavor profile for our next batch, and still trying to get the broken down apple texture of this jam. With the idea that the apples break down better in acid (lemon juice), have you tried making the apple sauce in apple cider vinegar and then adding sugar, and spices?

    We may try it in a few weeks, so we will report back how it works out!

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