Mother of Invention: A & W Cream Soda

The old proverb “necessity is the mother of invention” proved itself true again today.  There I was, poised with my tasty, toasted English muffin in one hand and nothing in the other.    What’s a body to do when they discover they are completely out of their favorite jam or jelly?

apple ginger jam

In this case, I was missing my recent delicious find from IKEA, Sylt Flader & Apelsin, or orange and elderflower marmalade.  I cast a forlorn look about and it appeared that any hope would rest in the fate of four fat Golden Delicious apples.

With that as my impetus, I pulled up an old Bon Appetit recipe and went to town.  Here is the original recipe for Spiced Ginger-Apple Butter at Epicurious, with changes, including 4 Golden Delicious apples instead of 4 pounds of McIntosh.

By the way, in my wildest imagination, never would I think to combine A&W Cream Soda with apples.  But what’s a person to do when making apple butter and they are out of apple cider?

Add another juice or liquid, of course.  I suspect my weakness for cream soda comes from the vanilla addition.    Turns out, the claims of aged vanilla proved positive; it delivered a “subtle, nuanced flavor” that complements the layers of ginger, lemon, and apples.

Gingered Apple Jam 

Inspired by Bon Appetit, October 2000, via Epicurious


  • 4 Golden Delicious apples, cored, peeled, chopped
  • ½ cup cream soda or apple juice
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tsp lemon juice and 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp crystallized ginger, minced


  1.  In small saucepot combine apples, liquid, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, lemon zest, lemon juice, and bring it to a boil.  Simmer until the apple chunks begin to soften and lose their shape.
  2. Using an emersion blender or food processor, puree to break down into a jam, but leave some identifiable bits and pieces.
  3. Return to heat, add the candied ginger and simmer until thick and no pot liquid remains, 5 to minutes.  Cool and store in refrigerator.  Makes about 2 cups.

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