Apple Jam with Calvados and Vanilla

By Amy Traverso

Nov 10 2013

Katharina Ångström Isacsson and her husband Lars Ångström operate an apple farm and café near Stockholm, Sweden, called Äppelfabriken []. There, they make this delicious jam—really a glossy, clear jelly studded with tender diced apples—with the apples they grow on-site. We met Katharina and Lars when they attended the Cider Days [] festival in Franklin County, Massachusetts in 2011 and 2014; this year, Katharina cooked the jam for a crowd of festival-goers. She says, “This jam can be done with different variations, like ginger (2 ounces, minced fine), vanilla and black pepper, earl grey tea, or cardamom. Just keep on experimenting— the sky is not the limit!”


10 cups

For the jam:


3-1/2 pounds firm-tart apples, such as Granny Smith, Northern Spy, Rome, Rhode Island Greening, or Newtown Pippin
2-1/2 pounds (about 5-2/3 cups) granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Calvados (apple brandy)
1-1/4 cups natural pectin (see recipe below)


First, start the jam: Peel and dice the apples, then mix with the sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla. Cover with plastic and leave in room temperature and let sit (this is known as macerating) for 12 to 24 hours.

For the pectin:


6-1/2 pounds firm-tart apples (see above)
3 quarts water
Juice of 1 lemon


Meanwhile, make the pectin. Cut the apples into quarters and place in a 5- to 7-quart pot. Add the water and lemon juice, then bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 30 minutes without stirring. Pour the mixture through a cheese cloth or fine-mesh sieve. Set aside 1-1/4 cups of this liquid pectin for the apple jam and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook it. The rest can go into the freezer for future batches of jam or jelly.

When the apples are done macerating, pour the mixture, with the juices into a 5- to 7-quart pot. Add the 1-1/4 cups natural pectin and set over medium-high heat. Keep a pastry brush and a small bowl of water nearby. Cook, stirring only rarely but keeping a close eye, until the mixture reaches 215° to 220° on an instant-read thermometer. Reduce heat as needed to keep it from boiling over. As the mixture cooks, watch for signs of sugar crystallizing on the sides of the pan; if it does, brush it with water to dissolve. When the jam reaches the desired temperature, add the Calvados, stir, and remove from heat.

How you process the jars depends on the type of jar you use, but the general instruction is to pour the jam into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch gap at the top, then secure the tops and either process in a water bath or turn the jars upside-down to seal. The jam will now keep a year or two at room temperature. Once you have opened a jar, keep in the refrigerator until it is consumed.