Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Crabapple Jelly

Making jelly is meant to be fairly simple, just boil, strain and boil some more. But I am a creative cook who likes to improvise, but with some things (like jelly) apparently improvisation does not work. I have learned this from experience - mostly my jelly not jelling properly. So this time, I decided to follow the recipe and learn how jelly works. Although, I must admit even after all that my insecurity kicked in and I poured in a pouch of liquid Certo as back-up. It probably didn't need it, so decide for yourself if you want to use some.

You can find crabapples pretty much anywhere this time of year. A friend gave me about 5 lbs from their tree, so I didn't have to go far.

I started off reading through the jelly section of my Joy of Cooking. I learned that the balance between fruit juice and sugar must be just right for it to jell, as well as the temperature of the syrup. For crabapples they call for about a 1-1 or 3/4-1 ratio of sugar to crabapples. For some sweeter fruits, that ratio would be lower. I also learned that in order to get a beautiful, clear syrup you shouldn't disturb the apple mixture as the juice is being strained (like squishing it down to get the most syrup you can... again, I learned from experience). Ok, now I feel ready to get started.

*As for any preserving, make sure your bottles and lids are ready to be sterilized in boiling water just before pouring in the jelly.

Crabapple Jelly


- about 5 lbs of crabapples
- white sugar (amount will depend on how much juice you get)

* If your apples are a drab yellowish-green (like mine) add a handful of fresh raspberries or blackberries for some colour


Quarter your apples and place in a large pot along with your berries if you choose. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook until fruit is soft then mash it up. Stretch a cheesecloth or piece of old sheet over a large bowl to strain the juice. I use clothes pins to attach the fabric to the edge of the bowl. Spoon your fruit mixture onto the cloth and wait. And wait. And wait some more while ALL the juice strains out. When you can no longer hear the juice drip into the bowl, measure the juice into a pot. Bring to a boil, then add either 3/4 cups or 1 cup of sugar for EACH cup of juice. Boil the mixture for around 30 min. Test by spooning up some syrup and slowly dribbling it over the edge. If it no longer drips in a liquid stream but rather two drops form together, you should be good to jell. Another good test is to ladle a little jelly into a bowl and wait to see if it begins to jell. If you are not sure, boil a little longer.

Sterilize your jars and lids (check my post on beets for further instructions).
Then pour in your jelly and twist on the lids.

Allow to cool to room temperature before storing in a cool, dark place.

I love how the raspberries really helped to give it a beautiful colour.

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