This richly scented jam smells like Christmas on your stove top. It’s good paired with mellow, creamy cheese, or taken by the spoonful as a winter tonic.
Making the jam is simple, but requires several rounds of cooking and cooling, so plan ahead. It’s best to start early in the day when you have other tasks nearby. I ended up doing half the cooking one evening and finishing the next morning.
Rinse any debris off your cones, and then put them in a large pot with the sugar and water. Put the pot on the stove, stir until the sugar is dissolved, and bring to a boil. Cook at a moderate boil for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
At this point, the liquid with be somewhat grey in color, and the cones will start to darken. Let the mixture cool completely before starting the next round of cooking.
Once the mixture is cool, put it back on the heat and bring to a boil again. Boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. As it cooks, the mixture thickens, and the liquid changes color from grey to red-brown. The pinecones turn brown.
After a half hour, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool again. Once cooled, return it to the stove top one more time. Boil for around 30 minutes, until the syrup is as thick as you like. Remember, once it cools, the syrup will thicken, so it’s helpful to do a gelling test.
Simple Gelling Test
While the jam is cooking, place a plate in the refrigerator to chill. When you think your jam is done, remove the plate from the refrigerator. Drip some of the syrup onto the plate.
If the syrup is cooked enough, it will gel into neat drops. If it spreads wide on the plate, cook it a little more.
I did a pH test of my finished pinecone jam, and the pH was 4.5. The pine cones naturally acidify the mix. If you recall, we need a pH at or below 4.6 for safe water bath canning.
If you don’t have a way to check pH, the safest option is to store your jam in the refrigerator. With the high sugar content, it should keep for several months.
For water bath canning, I used one fourth inch headspace, and processed for 10 minutes.
Use rubbing alcohol to remove the sticky pinecone resin from your cooking utensils and hands. You might want to wear gloves to work with the cones.
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Find it online: https://commonsensehome.com/pinecone-jam/