Unfortunately I don’t have a crab apple tree in my garden, but I was very kindly offered free pick of someone else’s. I haven’t made a huge amount of jellies in my time, so I was excited by giving it a go and to see what these amazing little apples could do. To be a little more adventurous, you could add some mint or chilli while you’re cooking the apples – this recipes makes about 4 average sized jars, so bear that in mind when you’re deciding how much to add.
So here’s how:
1.5kg crab apples
approx 1kg sugar
juice of half a lemon
Wash the apples and pick off their stalks. Place in a pan and add just enough water to cover. Bring up to the boil and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the apples are tender. Get your masher and mash them up with the water.
Line a seive with a couple of pieces of muslin (or use a jelly bag) and balance it over a bowl, put the apple mush into the seive and leave over night (for at least 8 hours) to get all the juice out. It is important here not to push the apple juice through as this will make the resulting jelly cloudy.
When you come back to it, discard what’s in the sieve and measure out how much juice you have. You need to add 7 parts sugar to 10 parts juice – maths has never been my strong point, but I divided my 1300ml of liquid by 10 and multiplied that by 7, so 910g sugar. Place this in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil to dissolve the sugar, then bubble away for about 40-50mins, skimming away any scum that rises to the surface. To test if it’s done, place a small plate in the fridge and spoon a little of the liquid onto the plate and return to the fridge for a minute or so. When you remove it, the jelly should appear set and wrinkle up when you push it with your finger.
Pour into warm sterile jars and store in a cool, dark place.