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Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Christmas Crafts: Caramel Apple Jam

Cilla Said
With Christmas fast approaching it'll soon be time to dust of the baubles and deck the halls so I decided, like many a savvy shopper before me, to get a head start on Christmas this year and save a few pennies along the way. Along with Shellac Vouchers a la moi crafted for friends and personalised Christmas Eve boxes for the littler ones in my life I'm also turning my hand to preserve making as I attempt to create some truly unique home made gifts.

To make my home made Wild Apple & Caramel Jam you'll need a few things; although if you're a pedant in the kitchen I'd leave whilst you still can, as I substituted most of the professional implements for things more easily found around the average house. To begin with you'll want to sterilise all of your jars by placing them in a large pan of water and bringing this gently tp the boil for ten minutes or so, do the same with the lids, and you're good to go.

I made a huge batch of this stuff as I'd been lucky enough to find myself in an orchard over my birthday weekend and the apples I picked lasted well, on top of that I used a few apples from a neighbours tree and some my Gran picked up for me from the far less romantic location of Sainsbury's supermarket. I'd recommend using a few different varieties as I think it adds an extra element of flavour to the jam.

To make around 6 standard sized jars you'll need:

6 cups of Mixed Apples (diced into cubes)
3 cups of Soft Brown Sugar
2 cups of Golden Caster Sugar
1 x sachet Gelatin
1/2 cup of Water
25g Butter
1 x Cinnamon Stick
2/3 whole Nutmegs

Method:


Start by adding your apples, nutmeg, cinnamon, water and butter to a pan and heating gently. The mixture will seem too dry at first but softens quickly into a familiar apple-pie filling. Continue to heat the mixture and stir until relatively smooth - you'll know what sort of texture you prefer so go with your instincts here.

Once your apples have reached a consistency which you're happy with add the Gelatin and stir in a circular motion - ensure the mixture does not fully boil. The Gelatin will begin to work and you should feel a slight tension forming between the mixture and your spoon as you stir.
Now it's time to add the two sugars, continuing to stir, and let the mixture combine. Once the sugar has completely melted remove any scum that may be present on top of the pan and sieve the mixture into a large bowl.

What you're then left with is two separate jams - one a very fine silken jelly and the other a much more rustic chunky jam, the amount you have of each of these will depend on the texture at which you chose to add Gelatin to your cooked apples. 

You can use these two different jams however you like - or not use one or the other at all - but I chose to fill the bottom of my jars with about an inch of rustic jam before topping with the caramel jelly for a creative finish. Finally repeat the sterilisation steps by boiling your filled jars - lids on this time.

I plan to give these away to family and friends as Christmas gifts this year; along with Cinnamon Shortbread and perhaps a second preserve (I still have so many jars...). I've picked up some Cherry Candy Canes as well to accompany the gift and inject a little festive cheer into my Autumnal offering.

If you're planning some Christmas crafts of your own, let me know what you're up to! And if you'd like to get involved in The Lazy Girl's Christmas Craft series, get in touch today!

Cilla Said / Author & Editor

I’m a 25-year-old freelance writer, I studied English Literature in London and have an incessant love for all things fictional, I currently live in Manchester with my partner; Nathan, and our growing menagerie of household pets.

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