This past summer we received an abundance, maybe even an overabundance, of apples. Of course I didn't want them to go to waste and I knew the best thing to do was to find a way to preserve them. Being new to homesteading I was still a little scared of canning. I had only eaten jam bought at the grocery store. Not even the farmers' market. Somewhere in my city life I had been taught that home canning was dangerous. Yes, they made precious gifts, until the recipient ate it and died a terribly painful death. Clearly this was a hurdle I was going to have to get over.
I did some research and I found some great (easy) recipes. I was surprised by the amount of truly helpful people and sites I found online. Apparently a lot of us are trying to live a more sustainable, self-sufficient life. Because I was nervous about the whole process I picked the recipe that looked the easiest. And by that I mean the hardest to mess up. The only bad thing about starting my life as a canner with a recipe made in the slow cooker is I can't come up with a reason to do it any other way!
Slow Cooker Jam
5 pounds apples (peeled, cored, coarsely chopped)
1/4 cup water
6 tablespoons lemon juice
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Put apples, water, lemon juice and brown sugar in a large slow cooker. Stir to blend well. Prop lid open with a wooden spoon handle. Cook on low heat for 8 hours.
Stir in salt and cinnamon. Cook on low an additional hour.
During the last hour of cooking, sterilize your jars, lids and rims. Ladle jam into prepared jars. Wipe rims and apply lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.
Let cool on a folded towel for 12 to 24 hours.
It doesn't get easier than that! I hope I never get tired of the popping noise the jars make as they cool and seal. If, for some reason, one of your jars does not seal, it is perfectly safe to stick it in your fridge and eat that one first.
I wanted to give a jar or two away for a birthday gift but was still a little nervous so I took the plunge and ate some. Delicious! And, more importantly, I am still alive. I have found slow cooker recipes for blueberry jam and pear jam. Birthday presents for everyone!
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