The Apple Chronicles, Part 3: Very Lemony Apple Jam

手作り (tezukuri): homemade

I was a bit wary of posting my jam recipes, because I don’t feel like I’ve perfected the jam-making process. This jam, adapted from Food in Jars‘ “Honey Lemon Apple Jam,” tastes amazing, and I think the recipe is fairly solid. That said, I’m not an expert on making preserves in Japan, and so I hesitated posting this and my other jam recipe. If you have a better way to make preserves (that works in Japan), please contact me!

Hot water baths seem to be recommended way to make sure your preserves last, but I can’t find mason jars with the two-piece lid-and-ring apparatus that most Americans use for canning. Instead, I got glass jars with replaceable lids—the kind that have a bit of rubber on the inside, since they were labeled as jars for jam. I baked the jars and lids according to the “low-oven” instructions on Just Hungry.

My jar was too big!

Powdered pectin was easy to find in the baking section of the large grocery store in town. I think next time I would add more pectin—maybe a tablespoon. It set well, but when I opened the jar a couple weeks later, the consistency the jam reached was more like an apple spread than a jam. Don’t get me wrong: this apple spread is delicious with a very bright lemon flavor, but if you want something more jammy in consistency, more pectin would be a good idea.

If you have suggestions about making jams in Japan, I would be very happy to hear from you!

 Very Lemony Apple Jam


  • ~600 grams [3 US cups] apples, chopped  (apple: ringo, りんご; Jonagold:  jonagôrudo, ジョナゴールド)
  • 120 mL [1/2 cup] freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons) (remon, レモン)
  • 60 mL [1/4 cup] honey (hachimitsu, ハチミツ、蜂蜜)
  • 125g [2/3 cup] castor (super-fine) sugar (jôhakutou, 上白糖)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon pectin (pekuchin, ペクチン)


  • clean hand-towels
  • 1-300 mL jam jar (jamu no bin, ジャムの瓶)
  • 1 new jam jar lid (jamu no bin no huta, ジャムの瓶の蓋)
  • Oven range
  • A large, heavy-bottomed pot (the jam might boil over if the pot is too small)
  • Grater or zester


  1. Wash the jar and lid in hot soapy water and rinse well.  Place in oven range and bake at 110°C [230°F] for about 20 minutes or until the water is dry. Keep a clean towel handy for removal later.
  2. Combine the chopped apples and lemon juice in the pot. Cook over a low flame until the apples reach the consistency of chunky applesauce.
  3. Add the honey and sugar; stir to incorporate.
  4. Bring to a boil and cook for about five minutes.
  5. Add pectin and boil for a few more minutes, until the mixture becomes thick and jammy.
  6. Turn off the heat and add the lemon zest.
  7. Carefully remove the jar and lid from the oven range, being careful not to touch the inside of the jar or lid. Pour the jam into the jar (do not wipe up spills on the rim),  leaving some headspace. Tightly screw on the lid–since the lid’s rubber will be softened, this make require some effort. Let cool—hopefully you will hear the lid pop on the vacuum seal, but my lids are pretty quiet. After it cooled, I stored it in the fridge, just to be safe.
  8. Refrigerate after opening. You can extend the life of your jam by minimizing the amount of time it spends out of the refrigerator, always screwing the lid back on immediately after use, and using a clean knife/spoon to extract it.

20 Apples!

Applesauce: 6 apples

Spiced Apple Jam: 3 apples

Kabocha-Apple Whole-Wheat Turnovers: 1 apple

Lemon Apple Jam: 2 apples

Oatmeal Apple Bread (experimental): 2 apples

Eaten straight: 6 apples

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