Jewish practice of making jams and other fruit preserves have roots in Ashkenazi and Sephardic communities. Preserving the sweetness of the season allows for special jams to be served at brit milah and other happy occasions. “In the old days,” Claudia Roden writes, “large quantities were made during their season to last through the year. Women got together…and spent the day pitting, peeling and stirring…and they all went home with a bagful of jars.” This recipe, which puts a twist on those traditional sweets, is quick to prepare and makes a great gift.
- 4–5 cups peeled, diced apples (Macintosh or Golden Delicious)
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 3 cups sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Zest of an orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or the seeds of one vanilla bean)
- Before beginning, review the recommended protocol for water bath canning.
- Prep your pint jars and lids in the boiling water bath and keep them in the warm water until you’re ready to fill. Remove the lids and use a black permanent marker to record the date of canning on the lid. Do not reuse old lids for canning.
- In another large pot, boil the apples, cranberries, sugar and water until softened. Use a potato masher to combine the soft fruit. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla. Cook until the fruit mixture thickens.
- Carefully add the jam to the prepared jars, wipe the rims, put the lids on and add rings until “fingertip tight.” Process for 10 minutes in the boiling water bath.
- Let the jars cool and test the seal by removing the ring and lifting the jar by the lid. If the lid comes off the jar, process again or store in the refrigerator. Jars are shelf-stable for one year or good in the fridge for several weeks.