Like a pirate’s treasure, apple slices are suspended in rum and precious sweet spices. The combination of fruit, spice and dark rum is delicious and the inspiration for one of my favorite jams. Serve it with snacks or desserts.The jam is a wonderful addition to a cheese tray, added to a simple cheese dessert such as fresh mozzarella, any cheddar, even a wedge of brie or camembert.
Makes 7 half pints
• 5 pounds of sweet apples
• 3 cups white cane sugar
• 1 ½ cups dark brown cane sugar
• ½ tsp sea salt
• 2 tbsp whole cloves
• 2 tbsp whole allspice
• 1 nutmeg
• 3 cinnamon sticks, 3 inches each
• 1 tbsp grated or chopped fresh ginger
• 1 cup boiled cider
• 1 ½ cups dark rum divided
That clever peeler-slicer-corer gadget will work for this — just make sure you trim out crooked cores then cut the slices in half. Or, you can sit comfortably with good tools in hand, turn on some music and relax. It took me less than a half hour to do all 5 pounds.
1. Peel and core the apples. I peel then cut the apples into eighths. Cut off the point side of the wedge to remove the core. Put the cores into a 3-quart pot. Now, slice the apples about ¼-inch thick. Drop the apples into your jam pot as you go.
2. Crack the nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and the allspice. Just put them inside a folded towel and tap with a hammer or meat mallet. Don’t smash them to smithereens, just crack. Add the whole spices and the ginger to the cores in the 3-quart pot. Add water to cover and cook for about 30 minutes. The water will reduce to a little over a cup.
3. Add the sugars and salt to the apples in your jam pot. Add the boiled cider, then strain the water from the cores and spices through a fine mesh strainer into the jam pot. This is your added pectin. Bring your marmalade to a gentle boil and simmer for just a few minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the pot and leave it overnight.
4. In the morning, your marmalade will be swimming in juice as the apples have juiced out. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil.
5. Meanwhile, set up your waterbath and when the water comes to a boil dip your clean jars, lids and the ladle and funnel. Set these aside upside down on a clean towel next to the stove.
6. When the apple mixture comes to a boil, add 1 cup of the dark rum, reserving the last half cup. Cook, stirring frequently until the marmalade temperature reaches 222 degrees. Watch carefully that slices don’t get stuck on the sides of the pot. Stir completely, reaching into the edges and all over the bottom.
7. When the marmalade is ready, ladle it into the sterilized jars, up to about the ½ inch mark. Now, carefully add a bit of the remaining rum to bring the level to ¼ inch from the rim. Wipe the rims, put on the lids and process in the waterbath for 7 minutes.
8. When you remove the jars, set them on a towel, leaving at least an inch between the jars so they cool and seal quickly. Make sure all the jars are sealed properly. Label the marmalade including the year and store in a cool, dark place.
Wendy Akin is happy to share her years of traditional skills knowledge. Over the years, she’s earned many state fair ribbons for pickles, relishes, preserves and special condiments, and even a few for breads. Read all of Wendy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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