Making refrigerator jam at home the easy way

September 17 | Guest post by Whitney

pear and apple refrigerator jam

Jam is an integral part of many breakfast and lunch routines in Norway. I enjoy jam as much as the next person and find a deep sense of accomplishment in making my own from time to time. Most jam recipes call for lengthy canning routines and commercially-produced pectin. But I've developed an easier and simpler recipe for making jam.

My method combines apples, herbs, or other flavor-enhancing goodies, with the fruit of my choice, and 20-30 minutes of patience.

For this recipe, I've combined pears, apples and vanilla with a touch of honey for even more flavor…

Ingredients:

  • 3 pears, peeled, cored and cubed (use your favorite variety)
  • 3 apples, peeled, cored and cubed (use your favorite variety)
  • 200g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • One vanilla pod, split in half lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • zest of one lemon
  • juice of one lemon

Directions:

  1. Place a small plate in the freezer before you begin making the jam. You will use this at a later stage to test for doneness and to check if the jam has set to your liking.
  2. Place half of the pears into a medium sized pot and mash with a potato masher.
  3. Add the remaining pears to the pot, along with the rest of the ingredients.
  4. On medium high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly so that the pears do not stick to the bottom.
  5. Once the pears have started to boil, turn the hob down to a simmer and allow to cook for 15 minutes, stirring periodically so that the mixture doesn't stick to the bottom.
  6. After 15 minutes, the jam should be thick enough to test. Using the plate in the freezer, place a small amount of the jam on the plate. Run your finger through the jam, and if it jells, remove the pan from the heat. If the jam is not thick enough, place the plate back into the freezer, and continue to cook the jam for 3-5 minutes longer.
  7. Test again. If the jam still has not thickened to your liking, continue to boil until it has reached your desired thickness, testing every 3-5 minutes.
  8. Once the jam has thickened up to your liking, spoon into clean glass jars and allow to cool completely until room temperature.
  9. Once cooled, top the jars with the lids and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours before serving.

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  1. "Most jam recipes call for lengthy canning routines", well yes, so that we can make one year's worth of jam in one day ๐Ÿ˜‰ Your recipe sounds a lot like my favorite applesauce recipe (but in jam form of course!). And it's probably just as delicious.

    I think it would be important to mention that jam the way you make it must be kept in the refrigerator and will last for up to 3 weeks (or a year in the freezer).

    http://nchfp.uga.edu/questions/FAQ_jellied.html

    7 agree
    • I don't think that's true, and although I appreciate that you gave a link for further education, I do not see where in the source it says so?!?

      Jams and jellies that do not contain a lot of sugar or that have not been cooked need to be consumed quickly, that's true.
      However, if you cook the ingredients so that they gel, all microbes are dead. If you then proceed to fill the stuff into sterilized jars while still hot, a vacuum will form while the jars cool, thus prohibiting mold and fermentation.
      (Always provided you worked with sterilized utensils and jars only.)

      I don't see any reason why this jam shouldn't keep for a year or longer. Please correct me if I am wrong.

      DISCLAIMER:
      If you ever see the tiniest bit of mold or whatever on a jar of homemade jam, throw it away. I once had a very, VERY unpleasant night after consuming strawberry jam that someone had given to my mom as a present, and there had been "the tiniest speck of mold on the top, just at the rim", as my mom reported later, which she had "just scraped off generously" – and served anyway.
      Boy, was my body trying to get rid of that stuff a few hours later. Gahh. I seriously wondered if I'd die.

      • This recipe seems to produce the quantity of jam that the average family (or at least my jam gluttonous family) can consume quickly. Shoot, I'm pretty sure my 3 year old twins would consume this in a weekend. No need to worry about storage and preservation if you're only making a small amount.

        1 agrees
      • I make a fair amount of jams & pickles, and your method should be refridgerated unless you put it through a water bath (ie. do the canning process) – especially if you do not plan on eating it right away.

        Boiling things in a water bath (or in a pressure canner) a) kills microbes that may have not died off in the cooking process) and b) properly forms the vacuum seal, where you get the lids popping down after removing them from the bath.
        That makes things safe to store at room temperature for long periods of time.

        The big risk is not necessarily mold (which you can see) or other organisms (which often cause off odors) but botulism which is both odor-less and does not cause visible changes in most items.

        Here's the gov't of Canada's take on the matter:
        http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/eating-nutrition/safety-salubrite/food-canning-conserve-aliment-eng.php

        8 agree
      • Unless I'm reading it backwards, your directions say to only add the lid after the jelly has cooled, which I'm thinking won't allow the lids to seal at all. May want to revise!

        2 agree
      • That would be under question "How long can I keep my homemade jams and jellies on the shelf?" It talks about refrigerator jam, which is what this recipe is, since the author specifically indicate she wants to avoid "lengthy canning routines" (that would be the sterilizing that you mention).

  2. It is superimportant to STERILIZE the jars before filling them, otherwise the jam will not keep very long before it goes bad.
    There are several methods to do that, my favorite is to just put the clean jars (and the lids!) into the oven at about 150ยฐC (about 300ยฐF) so all germs dieeeeee. 10-15 mins will suffice.

    Handle with care afterwards! They're hot! The jam is also hot! Everything is hot! YOU'RE probably hot! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Pro Tip:
    Sometimes a jar will burst from the heat when you pour the jam in. Nothing you can do about it – it just happens, and you'll never know when. You can spare yourself a lot of work and swear words if you place the jars on a large, thick towel while filling them with bubbly sweetness.

    3 agree
  3. Thanks for this. I love jam – and the kiddos do to- but I am just not the DIY canner type. I've tried. I was raised by a DIY canner type. My mom grew grapes, blackberry's, raspberry's, and apples at her house and cans them as jam or preserves every season. Its delicious….but just not for me. Something about my attention span or disregard for attention to detail. Or complete avoidance of multi-step recipes or processes.

    This recipe, on the other hand, I will do. A Saturday morning of Jam making for a Saturday afternoon of jam eating!

    3 agree
  4. So, uhm, instead of vanilla, I would love to try and make this with spiced rum. Sounds very nice for autumn…

    5 agree
  5. Honestly, reading this makes me twitch with fear for the health of anyone that tries the recipe.
    To avoid botulism, you need to process at least 250 for 10 minutes at sea level.
    You can't see botulism and you will never know that you made someone ill.

    5 agree
  6. So good to see fellow American-Norwegians foodies on here! I'm originally from New York and I'm co-head chef at a Norwegian-American gastropub in Oslo.

    1 agrees
  7. Thanks for all of the comments and feedback to this recipe! It's definitely one of my favorites and I make it quite often for my boyfriend, who as a Norwegian, eats jam every day. On weekends when we have friends over for brunch, we go through one recipe of this easily. Otherwise, together we both polish off one batch of this in about two weeks.

    This is a recipe for refrigerator jam (which is what the recipe is originally called "Pear and Apple Refrigerator Jam"). I've only used clean jars for this – ones I've run through the dishwasher – not sterilized ones pr se with no trouble or risk for botulism. I've never had any issues, but I do encourage people to use common sense and store this jam in the fridge to avoid any nasties growing in it! Sorry that this wasn't clear above. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I'm curious to hear about other flavour combinations you guys come up with. I thought about using thyme or cress. Has anyone tried this yet?

    2 agree
        • Thank you both for clarifying that this is refrigerator jam! Clean, non-sterilized jars are fine for that ๐Ÿ™‚
          Food safety is one of those things that make me twitchy.

          I think the above may taste nice with a little bit of lavender in place of (or in addition to) the vanilla.

          1 agrees
    • I cam up with a pear, peach and apple jam, with vanilla, cinammon and ginger on the spot when I had too much fruit on hand. It was amazing!

  8. I made a fig and Riesling jam a while ago when I had extras of both. That turned out amazingly well!

  9. I made this recipe yesterday, in the middle of a cold autumn storm, and it was the perfect rainy Sunday activity. Thanks, Whitney! I tripled the recipe to make five 200ml jars of jam, and added a bit of cinnamon & nutmeg to the mix. It was delicious with butter on crumpets this morning.

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