European style jam!

I’m so pleased with this golden colored jam.  It has a fresh apple flavor, a chunky texture, and a light, unexpected hint of spice from cardamom pods.  You definitely won’t feel like you’re eating apple pie filling.  It’s so delicious and versatile that I’m surprised you don’t see it more often.  This is a small batch, with just a handful of apples, and the quick process won’t overwhelm your kitchen or take all afternoon.  I got two big pints of it, and we’ve been spreading it on toast all week.  If you want a real treat, get yourselves some warm croissants to go with it.  I’m already dreaming up ways to bake it into something fabulous…

apples for apple jam

There are so many apples available right now, and you can really use any variety you like.  I mixed Granny Smith and Honeycrisp.  If you have local apples, all the better.  But be aware that other varieties may behave differently when cooked.   Mine retained their shape and color well, and they’re pretty commonly available in stores.  All apples have a lot of natural pectin, which  helps to thicken the jam as it cooks.  I used a little powdered pectin as insurance, but you can leave that out if you don’t have any, you may just have to boil the jam a little longer.  Be sure not to skip the lemon juice, though, because that helps prevent the apples from turning brown.

making apple jam

Rather than go with the obvious choice of cinnamon to spice up this jam, I used cardamom pods, lightly crushed to release their little black seeds.  The result is subtle and keeps the flavor from reading as ‘apple pie’.  If you want to use a mix of fall spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove, that would be nice, too, just don;t overdo it.

cooking French apple jam

The French have a more easygoing attitude toward jam making than Americans do.  They don’t fuss with canning baths and tongs, and they don’t worry as much about the dangers of spoilage.  They have learned a simple process from centuries of jam making.  This particular recipe makes a small batch, meant to be consumed within a month or so, but if you wanted to make more, you can follow the French method that I outline in this post.

French Apple Jam, made super easy the European way

Apple Jam

Yield: 2 pints

What You Will Need

  • about 6 apples (I mixed Granny Smith and Honeycrisp)
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed (use a rolling pin or heavy spoon to gently crack open the pods)
  • juice of 2 lemons, divided
  • 2 Tbsp pectin powder


  1. Fill a large bowl with cold water and add the juice of 1 lemon.
  2. Peel, core, and quarter the apples and add them to the lemon water as you work.
  3. Remove the apples from the water (discard the water) and finely dice them.
  4. Add the apples to a heavy bottomed pot, along with the sugar, cardamom pods, (and any seeds that have escaped) the pectin and the juice of the other lemon. Stir well, and then bring to a boil.
  5. Boil, uncovered and stirring often, for about 30-40 minutes until thickened. About halfway through the cooking I used my stick blender to blend the jam just a bit, but I left lots of apple chunks intact. This is optional and depends on what texture you want your jam to have, and how large or small you chopped your apples in the first place. If you do this, be extra careful not to splatter yourself, the jam is very hot.
  6. Ladle the finished jam into clean (sterilized) jars, cover tightly, and let cool before refrigerating. See note below for preserving options.


This is a small batch jam, meant to be consumed within a month. If you like, you can make a larger batch and process in a canning bath. You can also process it the European way, which I outline in this post. If you like you can fish out the cardamom pods after the jam has cooked, but I left them in. This recipe is adapted from Instructables

Apple Jam lightly spiced with cardamom

Tagged with →  
This doesn't have to be goodbye ---
I'm also on FACEBOOK chatting and sharing recipes every day. If you like to Pin, (and who doesn't?) follow me on PINTEREST
Share →

38 Responses to French Apple Jam

  1. Toa Mukerji says:

    I made this jam today. It came out delicious!! I put come chopped ginger while cooking. It was a hit!! Thank you so much!!

    • Sue says:

      I’m so glad Toa — and thanks for the fresh ginger tip, that really sounds great, I’ll try it next time :)

  2. Kelly says:

    I’ve never thought of making apple jam. Would be great in some fall recipes.

  3. Christie Tuggle says:

    Would so much like to have your French Apple Jam recipe. It sounds so good.

  4. Anette says:

    Dear Sue, thanks for this super-delicious recipe!! I especially like the different taste the cardamom pods add to the “plain apple”! It was a first time for cardamom ever for me and I can tell, it’s been a huge success! I had to go to a special spice stall at the “Weihnachtsmarkt” here in Frankfurt to find cardamom pods. They’re not available in Supermarkets. Even there they had to look for the small satchel in their inventory. “We have it, just have to find it!” The owner said. While waiting for his wife and grandson to search the stall I told him, that I wanted to make apple jam following your recipe with the pods. And soon a little crowd gathered around me, listening intently and asking questions about where to find your recipe and “what?!? Cardamom and apples?!? Never heard of!!” (Here in Germany we use cardamom for Xmas bakery only).
    So thanks again for sharing the recipe, you created a wonderful pre-Xmas event for me!

    • Sue says:

      Best comment ever Anette! You paint such a vivid picture of your experience, and I’m so glad you liked the jam. It sounds like you’ve gotten me some new German fans, thank you!

  5. Kate says:

    This was amazing! I made a batch of this and threw in some crab apples growing wild near my house. We served it for Thanksgiving and it was such a hit! I just linked to this page from my post today at
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Kimi Wei says:

    I love your recipes … and have been wanting to can something for a while but keep chickening out at the last moment. This jam sounds so simple, though, I’m going to try it.

    Any guidance on how many cardamom seeds to use, once they’re out of the pod?

  7. Francine Racette says:

    I only have ground cardamom. Can I use it and if yes how much ?

  8. Lynne says:

    Just made the lovely apple and cardamom jam- ddddeliocious :)
    I cannot wait to share it will my family and friends – so easy to makes – the aroma wafts around the house and the jam looks so lovely and golden in the jars:)
    So glad I came across the recipe after a friend gave me a huge bag of apples from her garden.

  9. Yvonne La Lionne says:

    Hi, Sue!

    I tried this today because a friend gave my husband and me some sweet, hand-picked apples. I like the more Gallic quality of this apple jam than others that I’ve tried so I gave it a shot. For my batch, I had about 7 medium to small apples. I used the same amount of sugar and lemon juice as in your recipe plus Pomona’s pectin, which gels according to how much citric acid is present. I thought it would work great here since there’s so much lemon juice involved.
    I just ladeled (sp?) some into my little 4oz. jars. The whole process was a pleasantly aromatic one — with the ripe apples and cardamom just hitting it off. One jar for the friends who gave us the apples, one for us and one for someone I like a LOT. Mine may be more like a spread, since I boiled it a little long, but it sure *tasted* like fall!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Pavel says:

    I just made apple jam and it turned out the same way i used 30 apples and multiplied everything by 5. I also made my own pectin and the jam was ready alot quicker. 6 apples roughly equal between 3.28 pounds and 3 pounds is what i ened up with weight

  11. Aisha Marie says:

    Simply beautiful! I can’t wait to try it! And I love seeing the little cardamom seeds against the golden apple jam. Yummm!

  12. Larissa Troy says:

    What is the weight value of the apples? I’m using small apples so the weight would help with balancing of the quantities of ingredients.

  13. Marianne says:

    How did you manage to keep that beautiful bright color? I’m afraid mine will turn brown (like apple butter) with the cooking.

    • Sue says:

      That really surprised me, too, Marianne. All I can say is, follow my directions, and use a mix of Granny Smith and Honey Crisp. Good luck!

      • Marianne says:

        Sue, this is not only beautiful (I’m going to make another batch for holiday gifts), it is absolutely delicious! I love that it tastes like apples with a little something special… not, as you said, like the “apple pie filling” concoctions we are all so used to. We devoured a pint already. Thanks so much for sharing this! It’s my new favorite recipe!

    • beth says:

      Mine turned out that color, and I just used regular local apples.I think the key is in that lemon water- -it really does keep the apples from going brown before they go in the pot, which keeps them from going brown in the cooking.

      This is a lovely jam- -thanks for sharing the recipe!

  14. wynd says:

    My wife and I love it. What a wonderful surprise…thanks.

  15. Catherine says:

    French Apple Jam
    Hi, Susan.

    I recently spent a week in beautiful Provence, France, and couldn’t wait to try the French Apple Jam recipe you posted earlier this month. Yesterday, I finally got around to making it and just had to let you know that it’s SUPER-FABULOUS . . .exactly what I would be having with warm croissants on an early fall day in Provence. The finished product looks just like your photo – luscious and golden. I’m planning to make another batch before Christmas to give to friends and family.

    I’ve made berry, fig and stone fruit jams on-and-off for many years, but your French Apple Jam with cardamom ranks among my favorites. Thanks for sharing “The View from Great Island”.

    Catherine Christensen
    Woodland Hills, CA

  16. viviene says:

    Can this gorgeous jam be frozen?

  17. Gorgeous jam, I love the color!

  18. and yet I still haven’t done a homemade jam yet!
    I need to get on this.
    Have a great weekend!

  19. Liz says:

    When I was growing up, I absolutely hated the jam/jelly process. It was in Ohio: hot & humid and no A/C and yuck!

    As a middle-aged person who is making most everything from whole food, I’ve had fun with jam and marmalade and this past year have been making small amounts: 2-4 pints. NOW, I’m having fun!

    This apple jam is so perfect. Good, organic and relatively local apples are available now. And really, there is almost always something that is in season.

    My mother told me long ago (she’s not French, she just went on her own common sense) – if you are putting boiling whatever into sterilized jars…done! And my entire family is still alive :) !

    Thanks for the recipe and also the link to your post with the French method.

  20. This is lovely recipe Sue. I can’t imagine how tasty it is. And so pretty too! I need more jam in my life!

  21. What a beautiful recipe! Love the whole cardamom seeds just suspended in it, so pretty! Cardomom is hands down my favourite spice and although I’ve been canning with it this year with pears I’ve never thought of using it with apples. I thought I was done making jam for the year but looks like I might just squeeze in one more batch….

  22. This looks wonderful and I can just imagine how good those cardamon pods smell.

  23. I’ve never had apple jam but I’m thinking.. wouldn’t this be wonderful inside a crepe?? I must make this and see. :)

  24. Karen Harris says:

    This looks delicious. I can just taste it. I found the French method fascinating. Doing away with all the pots, pans and stuff that I feel I have to get out to put jam in jars really prevents me from making it more often. I can’t wait to give it a try.

    • Sue says:

      That’s the way I feel, it’s so freeing! I also love making small batches, so I don’t feel like I have to wait till I have a huge load of fruit to make jam or chutney.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *