Friday, September 21, 2007

Preserving Summer: Crabapple Jelly


Every autumn comes around and I can’t resist buying a basket of pretty crabapples thinking I’ll make a jelly. The problem is, I’ve never made jelly and as simple as it may be, the first time for anything is reason enough to drag one’s feet. I usually end up packing the small apples into a wide mouth jar, adding some sugar and topping it up with vodka for a nice pink liquor come Christmas time.
But this fall was different and I actually produced a batch of crabapple jelly; mornings are cheerier when you can wake up to this pretty pink spread on toast .

There is very little labor involved in this jelly. No apple peeling, coring, or sieving; just wash them, cut in half and cook them down slowly, then mash them up and leave them to drain overnight in a jelly bag and see the lovely pink juices gather.

These will make great gifts come holiday season!

Crabapple Jelly

4 lb (1.8 kg) apples or crabapples
5 cups (1250 ml) water
5 cups (1250 ml) granulated sugar
1 pkg (57 g) Fruit Pectin
½ teaspoon butter

Wash and remove both stem and blossom ends from apples. Cut apples into chunks and combine with water in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover and boil gently 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Thoroughly crush mixture and boil gently 5 minutes longer.
Pour cooked fruit into a dampened jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined sieve over a large bowl. Let juice drip, undisturbed, 2 hours or overnight (squeezing bag may cause cloudy jelly).

Place 7 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer Set screw bands aside. Heat sealing discs in hot water, not boiling. Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use.

Measure sugar; set aside.
Measure 5 cups juice into a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Whisk in pectin until dissolved and add 1/2 tsp (2 ml) butter to reduce foaming

Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil. Add all the sugar. Stirring constantly, return mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim foam if necessary.

Quickly ladle hot jelly into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch of top rim. Wipe jar rim removing any stickiness. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner ensuring jars are covered by water. Repeat for remaining jelly.

Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. Process 10 minutes.
Turn stove off, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours. After cooling check jar seals. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place.

Makes about 7 x 250 ml jars

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