This is a story about jam and good humor.

It can be a battle to stay dry, warm and happy in Oslo. Most days lately are suited for nothing more than warm socks, a mug of Earl Grey tea, and the following snack (which, now that you mention it, is how I've spent this entire weekend).

lovin spoonful
first you take apple-rosehip jam

just add butter
then you add butter (arguably the most important part in terms of happiness)

jelly bread
then you smear it on fresh-baked homemade bread

The fact is, November is here and it's not going away. Every day we get a little less daylight and a little more rain. It's been raining/sleeting for the past three days with no signs of stopping. It's been gray and dreary for many more days than that. And it even snowed at the end of October! Quite shocking when you're used to Oklahoma winters.

proof that it snowed

Good weather is a rarity now, but when the sun comes out in Norway, it's like all the Scandinavian angels in heaven start sweetly singing the praises of the welfare state, fjords and brown cheese. It's even better when the beautiful weather keeps on giving, especially when combined with other Good Things. In this instance, cheap stuff and cooking.

In late September we had a stretch of gorgeous days. Sunny, blue skies, 60 degrees (F!). My lovely boyfriend and I even went island hopping in the Oslofjord.

dan conquering gressholmen
Dan conquering Gressholmen

That day, the weather was so pleasant and cheery that I declared that I'd gather apples and make jam. I collected the apples from my apartment complex and rosehips from the bushes lining the streets on the way home.

free apples look like this

Yes, I'm a scavenger. But you would be too if you lived in Oslo, home of the $4 cup of boiled coffee. Everything here is expensive. Cheap things do pop up here and again, like the constant weekend flea markets and the cheap ethnic grocers downtown. And the abandoned jeans I found in the dumpster. I'm a hunter-gatherer, ok?

free rosehips look like this

Because apples naturally contain plenty, I didn't even have to buy pectin. Discounting the time spent working (and the slight burns endured at the range), I spent next to nothing making it--the cost of one lemon and the sugar.

jam 009
free apples ready for their close-up, sporting characteristic free apple beauty marks

one very ripe rosehip

The sunny days are sadly past. On the bright side, almost two months later I still have the biggest out of the four jars of apple jam that I made stashed in my fridge. I dip into it at my leisure and each time its rosy apricot hue reminds me where it came from.

a spoonful of homemade jam help bad weather go down

these apples were destined for jam. note the authentic apple scab marks. (perfectly safe to consume, btw.)

So basically I took a bunch of apples and chopped them up. I left the skin and cores intact.

large dice
a pretty big dice

Then I boiled them with about a handful of ripe rosehips, chopped up, and some cloves, adding just enough water to keep the bottom from scorching.

let her go until everything's soft and mashy

The mixture took maybe about 20-30 minutes to reach that stage, with a bit of stirring now and then. In the meantime I had a bit of a snack with some of the leftover apples.

while you wait
you see where this is going?

ahhh, childhood!

After my snack, I pushed the apple mush through a screen, which took care of the apple cores and skins, the cloves and the rosehip seeds. It was pretty painstaking though, which is why I didn't strain it any further through cheesecloth. This is why I ended up with jam instead of jelly (which is made from clear liquid rather than pulp).

Then, as per the basic method of jelly/jam making, I added sugar to equal three-quarters the amount of pulp. I also added the zest and juice of one lemon. And of course I cooked it til it gelled, popped it in the jars and called it a night.

this is what I ended up with

A rough recipe for anyone who wants to try:

Apple Jam flavored with Rosehips, Cloves and Lemon Zest
1200 grams of apples, chopped roughly
About a half cup of ripe rosehips, appendages removed and chopped
3 cups water
15 cloves
Zest and juice of one lemon
3.75 cups of sugar (75% of yield of apple puree)

Boil apples, rosehips and cloves in nonreactive pot with about a cup of water until mashy. Push through seive or food mill. Measure puree and add three-fourths that amount of sugar and the zest and juice of a lemon. Return to pot and simmer until gelled (use spoon test or cold plate test). Watch for hot jam magma splatters. When it reaches the proper consistency, pour into sterilized jars. Store in fridge (what I did) or process in a water bath for shelf storage. Eat whenever you goddamned feel like it.

serving suggestion: taste test of jelly bread with and without butter

Please enjoy the sun if you have it--Oklahomans I mean you! Some of us get about 8 hours of dreary light per day. (I am officially sick of 4 p.m. dusk.)

one free apple
and use your free apples wisely!


Homemade Hotty said...

Man that post was involved! This was so industrious of you. Very pioneer-like. Good work.

Sherry said...

Oklahoma is currently cold and rainy and 44 degrees, and it gets dark around 5:30pm! But, I will remember to take joy in the sunny days, which probably will happen more here, thanks for the advice! Your jam looks delish!

smörgåsbroad said...

Ashley: Yes...it was involved! The straining was really the only bad part. But I did feel very legit.

Sherry: I guess I spoke too soon. But it's the possibility of good weather anytime that makes Oklahoma so nice. Even in the dead of winter you might get some sun. (Or some awful winter ice storm, for that matter....)

sherry said...

so you strained with a metal screen? i have a flat screen, but it seems less than ideal. i haven't been able to find cheesecloth or a food mill anywhere, and i'm less than enthused about visiting a fancy food gadgets store. do you have any recommendations?