Crabapple Jelly

Crabapple Jelly

I think I just finished making a jar of crabapple jelly. I guess I will find out if it worked out tomorrow once it has had time to set up. In the meantime, however, it looks very pretty. And sometimes, in this world, being pretty is enough.

It is, ostensibly, cranberry jelly with rosemary and juniper; although I’m not sure that the resinousness particularly shines through, from what I have tasted so far.

Take your crabapples, cut in half, get rid of the flowery endy bit, and the stalk. Place in a pot. Add enough water to cover by a little bit (although they do float. so I guess enough water so that there’s a little underneath). I had not much more than a single layer in a large pot. Then, forget to add juniper berries and rosemary. If I was doing this again, I would attempt to not forget the juniper berries and rosemary.

Cook the crabapples until they’re soft, then squish them up a bit. My kitchen is woefully under equipped, so I used my wooden spoon. A potato masher, or anything with more of a flat edge than a wooden spoon would work much better, I am sure.

Then, place the mashed up fruit along with all of the water into a jelly straining bag. I bought a jelly straining bad because it seemed important. In retrospect, a piece of cloth in a strainer would have probably worked fine. Leave it to strain for a while, until it stops being drippy.

Once that’s done, put the drippies into a pot, along with the same volume of sugar. If you forgot to add juniper berries and rosemary earlier, add these too. I had about 8 juniper berries, along with a stalk of rosemary.

Heat it up until it starts to boil. When it’s looking like it’s getting close to boiling, start hauling out berries and rosemary; because it gets harder the more everything is moving around (p.s. this is why you should try and remember to add the juniper/rosemary at the start).

Boil it until it reaches the “gel stage”. I’m a little fuzzy on what the “gel stage” really entails. However, I dutifully placed a puddle of the jelly on to a cold plate and placed it back in the freezer. After a minute or so, when you push at the edge of the puddle, it should get wrinkled. I had the requisite wrinkling, but I’m not sure if it was okay that the wrinkles dispersed. Oh well, I guess I’ll find out if it sets / turns into candy / is a liquid, tomorrow.

Once you’re pretty sure you’ve made it to the gel stage, transfer to a jar. I am a preserves cowboy, so I make no attempt at making these sorts of things shelf stable, and leave this kind of thing in the fridge; but I hear there are more steps you should take. This is not the place to find them.

3 thoughts on “Crabapple Jelly

  1. Apple jellies are awesome.

    I can give you a couple of hints for making it easier next time (my Dad and I love making apple and crabapple and quince jellies).

    1. A cheap candy thermometer takes all the guesswork out of the gel stage. When apple-based jelly reaches 105 degrees Celsius, it’s ready.

    2. I don’t bother removing any part of the fruit at all before cooking it, and it works out fine. I just dump the crabapples in the pot and boil them till they’re soft, mash them, strain through a clean cloth (generally a pillowcase), and boil again with equal volume of sugar until I get to 105.

    I love the juniper idea.

  2. A candy thermometer (or really any thermometer) is one of those things that I should probably reacquire (: One thing at a time, I guess. One carefully selected thing at a time (Worlds smallest kitchen ever, ever, ever!)

    Heh, there’s actually quince in paste form hanging out in my fridge! Deliciousness is converging in my fridge (:

  3. I have invented a recipe involving crabapple or quince jelly.

    100g butter. 1 cup flour.
    Process in food processor until fully mixed.
    Drizzle in a little water while running the processor, until you have something you can roll out.
    Roll out to about 1-1.5cm thick.
    Place on lightly floured baking sheet and pinch edges up to about 2cm thick.
    Peel and slice 1-2 apples and cover pastry with thin slices.
    Bake at 220 until pastry is golden.
    Heat 1/4 cup of apple jelly until liquid.
    Brush over and bake for 5 minutes or so.
    Allow to semi-cool.

    Great with icecream, custard, whipped cream, or on its own.

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