Only a few days back I was wondering to myself- its been ages since I caught a cold. And, well, what would you know, the age ends! I’m sick and with a bad cold! If insomnia wasn’t enough, the cold surely is. Hardly slept last night thanks to it. Had soupy Maggi for dinner (my all time favorite comfort food :)), and have been drinking ginger-spiced tea but to no avail. The cold still prevails and so does the feverish feeling accompanying it :(!
Even though I was pretty much drained from the cold last night, I had planned to make this chunky apple preserve from Sarabeth’s Bakery. I could have delayed it, but I’m starting this new thing- Office Thursdays! (I thought and thought of a better name, but the brain cells have been killed by the cold- so Office Thursdays it is!) The whole concept behind Office Thursday’s came up after V and I had a fight over how I bake things and I end up eating them (lucky thing- he doesn’t have a sweet tooth, so doesn’t get tempted to eat things I bake..I, on the other hand, love all things baked and hence my constant struggle with weight gain..sigh!) We had to come up with a solution since baking is the only solace I get and to do without it will surely bring me to sheer madness! Now, every Thursday V has a meeting in his office that he conducts. Sometime he takes some donuts, or someone else gets something sweet to eat. Aha! That’s it, we thought. I bake for his office people. That ways, I get to bake, but don’t end up putting any calories. Of course, I will put aside two pieces- one for V and one for me, but the rest goes in the tummies of his colleagues. Brilliant!
Today I decided to make Apple Turnovers for his office. For that, the puff pastry was already ready, I just needed to make the filling- the chunky apple preserve. So that’s why I had to suck up my cold and make the preserve, else I would have had to wait till next Thursday- a thing that an impatient me can’t do! (Here’s the recipe for the Apple Turnovers) I am glad I did because the joy of making homemade preserves is a pretty good mood lifter. And with an outcome so delectable, I was on top of the world!
Now, I did not have any canning pot or canning tongs. So I used whatever was available. I did take a risk, though, because the jars are pretty hot and without the proper tools, either you could end up breaking the jars, or worse, scalding yourself pretty bad. Fortunately, nothing happened to me. But, to be on the safer side I would suggest, if you plan to make preserves and jams more often, get the right tools!
CHUNKY APPLE PRESERVE
Adapted from Sarabeth’s Bakery From My Hand to Yours
- 7 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp all spice
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Bring the apples, apple juice, lemon juice, cinnamon and all spice to a simmer, over medium heat, stirring often. (Make sure the saucepan you use is non-reactive). Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, stirring often. Simmer till the apples are barely tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add the sugar and vanilla extract in. Cook, stirring often, until the apples have broken down into a thick, chunky puree, about 25 minutes.
- While the jam is cooking, bring water to a boil in a large pot or a canning pot, if you have one. Sterilize the jars, by immersing them in the pot. Add boiling water, if necessary to covers the jars by 1 inch. Add the lids separately. Turn off the heat and let sit in the pot till ready to use.
- Using canning tongs, carefully remove the jars, and let dry on a paper towel, inverted. Place the right side up on a clean kitchen towel. (Do not place the jars directly on a cold surface or they might break- hence, the kitchen towel).
- Spoon in the preserve, leaving a 1/4th inch gap from the top. Wipe any spills from the edge of the jar with a hot, wet towel. Using a dinner knife, adjust the preserve to allow any air pockets to escape. Attach the hot, wet lids and bands, but do not screw tightly, only till you feel resistance.
- Place the jars in the canning rack and lower into the water in the canning pot. If necessary add boiling water to cover the jars by 1 inch.(I did not have a canning rack, so I just placed them inside, and while removing was extra careful to not scald myself or drop the jars- there were a few narrow escapes!)
- Return to a boil and process for 20 minutes at a slow boil.
- Place a kitchen towel on the work surface. Remove the rack with the jars from the pot. Using tongs, transfer the jars to the towel and cool completely.
You can find more information on apples as well as the recipe on the site www.foodista.com. Just click on the icon below!