I've had this all ready to post for days, minus any witty content. January is a rough month for me, traditionally, and twenty-ten was sort of one of those years that knocked me around a bit. That may be a bit depressing to read on a blog, but this jam is very very good and might cheer you up. If you need cheering up. If not, you might want to make this jam anyways, and think of it as your morning sunshine, and hum a happy little morning song. You could leave out the spices, but I like using these spices in the winter, and they certainly do not belong in the summer. This is your chance.
adapted from Food in Jar's Apple Cranberry Jam
4 cups peeled and diced soft apples
4 cups peeled and diced pears
4 cups cranberries
1 cup water
5 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
zest and juice of 2 lemons
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
Prepare the jars in the canning pot, along with the rings. Put the lids in a bowl of hot water to soften the seals.
In a seperate large pot, combine the apples, pears, cranberries, water, and sugars. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that comes up to the surface. I just use a wide flat spoon for this. Skimming off foam helps the jam to be clearer once it's cooked. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the cranberries begin to pop and the apples and pears begin to soften. You may want to use a big wooden spoon to smush up the apples on the side of the pot, especially if you diced them too big (not that I did that…).
Add the citrus zests and juices and cook over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches 220˚/104˚ (but see this for info on high-altitude gel points: http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/icooks/01-06-03.html). Right before the gel point is reaches, stir in the cinnamon and ground cloves.
Remove the jam from the heat and ladle into your prepared jars. Wipe the rims, place on the lids and screw on the rings. Process in the boiling-water canning pot for 10 minutes (remember: don't start the timer until the pot has come back to a boil).
Remove from the water, let cool completely, remove the rings and wipe down the jars, and check the seals. Label and date and eat!
Makes 5 pints (I did 3 pints and 4 half-pints, same processing time for both)
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