While I’m feeling organised I thought I’d get this recipe up before I forget all about it. I found a hedge full of crab apples while out walking the dog a few weeks ago and although I didn’t know if they were edible I picked as many as I could get. Luckily they turned out to be very edible! I didn’t actually manage to get that many so I bulked them up with cooking apples that I couldn’t store as they were bruised windfalls. Then I had 2 quince laying about so I chucked those in too. It was a bad year for quince round these parts it would seem. So mixed apple jelly was born! It’s a beautiful colour and smells divine.
The best book on preserves ever is Let’s Preserve It by Beryl Wood. Alas it is out of print so I may have to “borrow” it from my mother at some point in the future. If I want to put something in a jar this book is my first port of call. It’s magic! This has been my first year of making jams, chutney and other things and I’m starting to get the hang of it now. I used to be terrified of boiling sugar but now I’m a dab hand! On the subject of sugar a lot of recipes I’ve googled say to use caster sugar. Don’t. Use granulated. It’s much cheaper, which is great when using in these quantities, and the size of the sugar crystals makes for better jams and other preserves.
Quantity varies according to how much apple you start with.
mixed apples: crab apples, cooking apples, eating apples, even quince
1 tbsp lemon juice
a knob of butter
– Chop up the apples into chunks, don’t bother to core or peel them.
– Put them in a very large pan and cover with water.
– Bring to the boil and simmer until soft and pulpy, about 30 minutes -1 hour.
– Line a seive with muslin and suspend over a large mixing bowl.
– Tip the apple mixture into the seive and cover with the corners of the muslin to keep flies off. DO NOT PRESS OR SQUEEZE or you will get cloudy jelly.
– Leave overnight to drip into the bowl.
– Measure how much liquid you have and add 1 lb sugar for every pint of liquid you have.*
– Put these together in a large pan and add the lemon juice.
– Bring to the boil and simmer at a good rolling boil for 10-15 minutes until setting point is reached.**
– Skim off the scum until you reach a good violent boil then add a knob of butter. This jelly does throw a lot of skum so you have to call it quits at some point of you’d be there forever!
– Decant into warm, sterilised jars and put the lids on while hot. This jelly sets fast so work quickly.
*I got a perfect 1 1/2 pints and so added 1 1/2 lbs. Usually I’m a metric girl but often jams just work better in imperial, imperial seems more fitting to me anyway.
** I am now a convert to the sugar thermometer. I didn’t want to be but it does make things a lot easier. Mine has all the necessary points marked on it and is made so you can’t touch the nib to the bottom of the pan and also has a very useful clip to attach it to the side of the pan.
To test the if the setting point has been reached hold up the spoon and see how the drips form. If they’re slow and large then test it. Keep a saucer in the freezer and place a small amount of the jam on this, leave it for a moment then push your finger across the saucer. If the jam wrinkles ahead of your finger it has reached setting point. The bubbles are also a good indicator, they should be big, about 1cm, not tiny little ones.