Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crab apple jelly

This year I left collecting crab apples for making jelly rather late. They have long fallen and the cold nights and hungry animals are taking their toll.
But I managed to collect 3 lbs - enough for a small batch of crab apple jelly.

What I like about making crab apple jelly, is that not much measuring and weighing is involved and it's not a precise science.

To make crab apple jelly, you will need:
  • a large sauce pan
  • a muslin bag
  • a measuring jug
  • a ladle
  • jam jars
  • sugar
  • lemon juice
and, of course
Here is how:

Wash the crab apples, remove bruises and slice/quarter.

Put the apples into a large sauce pan and just about cover with water.

Bring to the boil and simmer until the apples are soft and pulp. It helps to mash the apples with a potato masher or rolling pin.  
Leave to cool, then ladle the pulpy mixture into a muslin bag and hang over a bowl to let strain over night. Do NOT squeeze the bag, unless you don't mind your jelly cloudy.

Measure the liquid. Add 1 lb of sugar per pint of liquid, add some lemon juice and boil rapidly for about 15 minutes, stirring as you go.

Remove any scum with a spoon as it forms.  

Now you should test if the jelly is ready to set. My husband likes to take the scientific approach and uses the methylated spirit method.
Me, I prefer the 'wrinkle test', by dropping a small amount of jelly onto a chilled plate and leaving it in the fridge for a minute. Then push your finger gently across the plate. If the jelly surface forms wrinkles, the jelly is ready.

If you are using a sugar thermometer, the setting point for jelly is usually between 104 and 106C.
(To be honest, crab apples contain a lot of pectin and I have never had problems getting it to set, as along as you haven't made it too watery)

Remove the saucepan from the heat and ladle the hot and runny jelly into sterilised jars. Use sterile lids or cellophane covers to cover your jars.


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