Monday, 21 September 2015

Easy Apple Jelly

Autumn is my favourite time of year and apple picking time is one of the best things about autumn.  We only have two tiny, espalier apple trees growing in pots but they produce lots of lovely apples. 


The apples are all different shapes and sizes.  Some are a large and perfect. Some are a bit bug bitten and spotty.  It doesn't matter.  The perfect ones I eat for a treat.  The less than perfect get baked into cakes, crumbles, and scones. The smallest ones are made into jelly. 



If you've never made jelly before, apple jelly is a good place to start.  It's probably the easiest jelly to make.  Apples have a high pectin content and pectin is the magic ingredient that makes jelly 'set'.   You don't have to buy expensive apples, windfalls will do.  There are hundreds of apple trees growing along the roadside and in the open spaces around our little town with fallen apples free for the taking. 



You don't have to fuss with the apples too much. Give them a wash and make sure there aren't any critters inside the less than perfect apples.  Chop them into small-ish pieces and put them into a large pan.  Add enough water to JUST cover the apples.  Grate in a the rind of a lemon and cook over a medium heat until the apples are VERY soft.  Leave the apples to cool a bit before pouring them into a jelly bag to strain out the juice.   

I must confess,  I don't have a jelly bag.  I use a colander lined with a linen cloth I keep just for making jelly. I give the linen a short boil in a sauce pan to sterilize it before using it.  Place the lined colander over the biggest bowl you have, pour in the apple pulp and leave it to strain for several hours or overnight. DO NOT squeeze the bag ...I know, you want to...but don't.  Just let time and gravity do the work.  Squeezing will make the juice cloudy, not a sin but jelly should be as bright and clear as possible. 



So far, so easy, right?   Now, let's turn that apple juice into jelly.  The recipe is really a ratio of juice to sugar.  I like to make small batches of jelly and don't have a giant jam making pan.  To make a larger batch, simply double or triple the ingredients.

600 ml of apple juice
225 grams granulated sugar
225 grams jam sugar (contains pectin)
Juice from 1/2 lemon 

Pour the juice into a large pan, add the lemon juice and sugars.  Stir over a low heat until the sugars have dissolved.  Increase the heat a little and slowly bring the mixture to a full rolling boil.  You must be patient, if the heat is too high you will burn the sugar and ruin the jelly. Let the jelly boil for about four or five minutes then test to see if it has set.  

There are several methods of testing if the jelly has set. I like to use the flake method. Dip a wooden spoon into the jelly, remove it from the pan and let the liquid drip from the side of the spoon.  If it makes a wobbly drip that doesn't fall from the spoon then the jelly has set. This is called a flake.  

If the liquid pours from spoon, leave it to boil for a minute or two and test again. 

You can also use the 'saucer' test.  Place a saucer into the refrigerator before you begin the jelly making process.  Drop a little bit of hot jelly onto the cold saucer, allow it to cool for a minute or two.  If it crinkles when you push it with your finger, the jelly is set.

Once set,  remove the jelly from the heat and give it a good stir to settle down the bubbles.  Carefully pour into sterilized jam jars and screw on the jar lids. Let the jelly cool completely before eating.  It's really best if you can wait a day or two. 



For a real treat, make a batch of GINGERBREAD JELLY. Click HERE for the recipe.

10 comments:

  1. Ooo lovely! How long does it last for?

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    1. If you get a good seal on the jar it will last 6 months to a year. I always put jelly/jam in the fridge after opening the jar and it lasts for ages!

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  2. What a beautiful colour. Apple jelly sounds delicious.

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    1. Thanks! I can't wait to have it on my toast for breakfast. : D

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  3. Thank you for the idea! As soon as I saw your lovely pots of jelly, I went out into the garden to collect all my less than perfect apples (nearly all of them sadly!) and by the next day, I too had my little jars of apple jelly! Fantastic, what a great way to use up the apples that I would usually probably end up throwing away. I also love it because you don't have to peel the apples, a job I really loathe!

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    1. I am SO happy you gave this recipe a go. I hate food waste and love seeing a cupboard filled with beautiful jelly made from apples that would soon spoil. : )

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  4. Hi Debs I often comment on twitter but 'found' your blog again. Your Jellies look so clear and beautiful. I once had the fortune of eating delicious apple jelly with home made muffins in Kennebunk on holiday many years ago. Seeing your jelly reminds me of that wonderful time! x

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    1. Now you can make it for breakfast again! I LOVE apple jelly. You can spice it up with cinnamon and ginger, too.

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  5. Your jelly is a nice idea, I should take the recipe :)

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