I realised while I visited Japan in April that Apple Jam is one of the food overseas visitors praise because of the subtle sweetness and delicious flavour. Having said that, I noticed there is no apple jam sold in supermarkets in Australia.
What is the remarkable difference to call this apple jam “Japanese”?
Apple jam did not originate in Japan. Jam was introduced from Europe where jam has a long tradition and history as a preserved food. The first jam made in Japan was strawberry jam made in the Meiji era, which is only about 150 years ago. According to the International food standard (CODEX), jam is classified as a preserve that has over 60-65% sugar content.
In contrast, JAS (Japanese agricultural standards) approve preserves that have over 40% sugar content as “jam” in Japan. About 45% of jam sold in Japan has 40-45% sugar content in Japan. So the Japanese apple jam that many overseas visitors praise is not overly sweet and it is very special that you only get in Japan. reference https://sugar.alic.go.jp/japan/shiten/shiten0909a.htm
Beware of the pot you make the jam
An enamel pot is the easiest and readily available pot to use at home for making jam. It is strong against acid and alkali, and will not affect the taste and colour of the ingredients in it. A copper pot is a great option too and professional chefs probably use copper one because of its great heat conduction but I don’t have copper pot so I used an enamel coated pot that I bought from IKEA. Avoid aluminium pots because they will chemically react to fruit acid.
Right apples to get Right results
My first choice is Pink Lady because I like to add a little bit of colour in the jam and also the firm flesh holds its shape when cooked. If you don’t mind blunt colour of the jam, Granny Smith (iconic Australian green apple variety) is good too as it has firm flesh. I used Royal Gala apple this time. Peeling and adding its skin extracts pectin which helps to form jelly and adds colour. If you like all mashed up textured jam, sweet Fuji apple is great too.
Proven ways to preserve the apple jam
Sterilising the storing jar is necessary to preserve the jam in a jar. The length of storing period will depend on which sterilising method you use. I used the following proven method. Place the jar and a lid in a large pot and bring it to boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and take the jar and lid onto a clean wire rack lined kitchen cloth. Pack the jam while it is hot and close the lid tightly immediately.
delightful ways to use the apple jam
My favourite way to eat apple jam is with yogurt. This apple jam also goes with toasted Shokupan the Japanese bread very well. Also gluhwein (1 cup red wine, 1 tbsp apple jam, 2 slices of ginger and 1 cinnamon stick put all in a small sauce pan and heat up) is a creative way to eat/drink this delicious apple jam.
Here is my recipe for Apple Jam and If you liked it, please rate it and leave a comment below. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Youtube, Pinterest, Facebook , Twitter and Instagram to keep up to date with all the latest happenings on Chopstick Chronicles. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #ChopstickChronicles so I can see your wonderful creations!
Recipe for delicious and subtle sweet Japanese apple jam that can be easily made at home. Preserve to enjoy it with yoghurt, Shokupan toast, and more.
Wash and peel the apple.
Peel and core the apple. Retain the peeled apple skin to use later.
Fill water in a large bowl and add a tea spoon of salt. Add the peeled and cored apple as you work. *3
Remove the apples from the salty water and finely cut them.
Place the cut apple into a enamel coated pot and add the peeled skin as well. *4
Add the sugar over the apple and apple skin. Leave it for about 2 hours. The moisture in the apple will be extracted and you will see liquid at the bottom of the pot. *5
Place the pot over medium heat and add lemon juice.
Bring the apple and apple juice extract to boil. Skim off any scum on the surface with a little sieve.
Simmer it for 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Once the colour of the apple skin comes off in the liquid, remove all apple skin before the liquids get thickened and discard them. *6
While the jam is hot, ladle the jam into a sterilised jar and place a lid tightly.
Cool it down in room temperature then refrigerate.
*1 Any variety of apple can be used. I used 4 small royal gala apples weighing 350g. Measure the apple weight because it determines the amount of sugar you need.
*2 I calculated and added 40 % of apple weight. But the percentage of the sugar added is not necessarily the percentage of the sugar content of the jam made. If you have a sugar gauge it will be easier to calculate. I don't have one so this is how I calculated. I used 350g of apple. Generally speaking they contain 0.1 % sugar, 350 x 01 = 35. I added 40 % of apple weight sugar 140g. 140g +35 = 175g sugar content all together. The end product weight was about 290g. All sugar content (175g) divide by end product weight(290g) = 0.6. So this apple jam sugar content is 60%. To have 40 % sugar content, 350g (apple) + 140g(added sugar)=490g. 175g x 0.4 = 437.5g Let's say about 440g. So I needed to reduce the jam from 490g at begin with to 440g. I wanted to make close to 40% sugar content but I probably had to add pectin powder to get jelly texture. Because I reduced to 290g, the jam end up 60% sugar content.
*3 *4 Around the apple skin and core it contains more pectin. For adding a little bit of colour and more pectin, I added the peeled skin and then removed it later. If you peeled as long strips, it is easier to remove.
*5 Due to sugar's penetrating action, pectin inside the apple comes out with moisture. It can be left longer than 2 hours. I often prepare the apple a night before and leave at this stage over night.
*6 Apple jam can be mashed if you like that kind of texture but I like the apple to retain its shape so I usually use firm flesh apple for that reason.
*7 The length of preserving the jam is depends on the sugar content and the method you use to sterilise the jar. For this method and sugar content, it will keep about 3 weeks in the fridge.