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6 Cups apples, diced and peeled (1/8 inch cubes, roughly – this takes about three pounds of whole apples)
1/2 Cup water
1/2 tsp. butter
1 package (1.75 ounces) powdered fruit pectin
2 1/2 Cups sugar
2 1/2 Cups brown sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Peeling and dicing the apples is really easy if you have an apple peeler/corer/slicer, something we found at a yard sale a few years ago for $1.
After that, you just have to chop the apple in the opposite direction to get the nice small pieces you need for the jam.
One thing you’ll need to do is boil the jars and lids to clean them. You can do this at any time in the process that’s convenient, as long as they’ve been boiled by the time you’re ready to put the jam in the jars.
In a pan, combine the apples with the 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon butter. Cook this over low heat for an hour or so, stirring regularly, until the apples are soft.
At first, it will seem impossible that these dry-seeming apples and this little bit of water will ever combine with all of that sugar to make any kind of liquid jam. What will happen is that slowly, the apples will begin to give off liquid and, as the apples get soft, you’ll have about as much liquid as apple in the pan.
When the apples are getting soft, you should get the boiling pot going. Put a towel on the bottom, then add water until your jars would be covered by two inches. Turn on the heat and get the water boiling!
Once the apples are nice and soft (use your own judgment – you don’t want them to be really crisp in the jam, after all, but some soft chunks are delicious), add the pectin, stir it in, then bring the whole mix up to a rolling boil.
Then, add the sugar. This is a fun part, because it all becomes a very thick liquid as you stir it. Bring it back to a rolling boil (and be careful here, it can splatter). Stir it constantly and let it boil for one minute.
Remove the jam from the heat, then add the jam to the jars with a spoon until there’s a quarter of an inch between the top of the jam and the top of the jar. Clean off the rim of the jar, put a lid on it, then put a ring on top of that, turning the ring until you just begin to feel resistance. Repeat until you’re out of jam (we made six jars, with a bit left over to have immediately on toast).
Take these closed jars and put them in the big pot of boiling water. Keep the water boiling and leave the jars in there for ten minutes, then pull them out. Put the jars on a towel with a couple inches free space around each jar. Let the jars sit for 24 hours to cool and make sure after the cooling that the lids are depressed (meaning if you push down in the middle, it doesn’t “click” – if it does, the jar needs to go).
And there you have it – wonderful jars of delicious apple jam!