Two Canning Recipes for Spicing Up Your Holiday Gift Ideas

by Amie Watson

There’s something about freshly toasted cinnamon and ground cloves that makes you close their eyes and inhale slowly. For a couple seconds the world slows down, which is something we could all use during this often stressful season. 

These homemade preserves make the perfect present, not just because they’re filled with (organic cane) sugar and spice and everything nice, but because the gift givers also get some olfactory pleasure out of the gift. Both the gingerbread jam and apple chutney smell like the holidays, and the touch of rose water added at the end of the jam puts it over the top (you can add some to the chutney, too – no one’s watching!). Plus, you’ll have to taste-test along the way, and if you end up with a little extra that doesn’t quite fill a jar, you’ll just have to leave it in your own fridge. Well, shucks.

Canning takes a little more effort than just cooking down fruit with sugar and spices, but it makes the jars shelf-stable and lets the recipients decide when they want to open them. Whether April,  August or immediately after receiving it, they’ll think of you and the tiny bit of extra effort you made. Once open, the preserves will last at least a month in the fridge.

There are no artificial preservatives, chemicals or additives like you’ll sometimes find in commercial jams and chutneys, so if you use local apples, the eco-conscious foodie on your list should be tickled pink. Speaking of pink, choose any sweet and tart apple that’s good for applesauce, such as Pink Lady, MacIntosh, Gala, Honey Crisp, Spartan, Fuji or Jonagold.

And don’t forget to stop and smell the rose water... and the cinnamon. 

Recipe for Gingerbread Jam

Makes ten 250mL jars

Ingredients:

  • 9 medium unpeeled apples (about 4 lbs pounds), diced 
  • 1 cup non-alcoholic apple cider or juice
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice 
  • One 3-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped 
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (use 1/4 teaspoon if using ground nutmeg)
  • ½ tsp rose water, optional

Instructions:

1. Sterilize the canning jars and rings by boiling them in a large canning pot of water for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and keep pot covered and hot until needed.

2. Combine apples in a large pot with the apple cider, lemon juice, ginger and cinnamon sticks.
3. Cook on medium heat until softened, about 20 minutes.

4. Add remaining ingredients except the rose water, return pot to a simmer, and taste and adjust sugar and lemon juice. Cook until mixture reaches 100°C.

5. Use an immersion blender to blend to desired thickness, or transfer to a blender and return to pot.
6. Keep cooking, stirring to prevent burning, until mixture reaches 104°C

7. Add the rose water.

8. Add canning lids to hot water for 5 minutes to soften (do not boil).

9. Fill jars with jam, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a chopstick or other non-metallic, long, thin utensil.

10. Wipe rims, put softened lids on, tighten rings to fingertip-tight and process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes. Remove from canner and let cool.

Apple Chutney

Makes six 250mL jars

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tsp whole fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp whole star anise, broken into pieces 
  • 8 cups peeled and chopped apples
  • 2 cups minced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 4 cups organic cane sugar or coconut sugar 
  • 3 cups apple cider vinegar
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 tsp non-iodized salt

Instructions:

1. Sterilize the canning jars and rings by boiling them in a large canning pot of water for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and keep pot covered and hot until needed.

2. Combine whole spices in a dry skillet over medium heat. Toast until fragrant and slightly darkened, about 5 minutes. Cool and grind to a powder.

3. Combine remaining ingredients along with ground spices in a pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened (about 20 minutes). Stir regularly to prevent sticking. The chutney is ready when you pull a spoon through it and it doesn’t flood immediately back into the space you created.

4. Add canning lids to hot water for 5 minutes to soften (do not boil).

5. Fill hot jars with hot chutney, and remove air bubbles with a chopstick or other non-metallic, long, thin utensil. Wipe rims, put softened lids on, tighten rings to fingertip-tight and process in a water bath canner for 15 minutes. Remove from canner and let cool.

Amie Watson
Post By

Amie Watson

Amie is a heavyweight food writer and a lightweight television personality but a featherweight foodie. She loves writing recipes and restaurant reviews for her blog, Multiculturiosity and freelancing with enRoute, Menu International, Fine Dining Lovers, MAtv and Ricardo Media. She loves all things local, organic, gluten-free and dairy-free, but only if they’re delicious. Celery root? Well, it's growing on her.

Comments

Leave a Comment