If you’re lucky enough to have a crab apple tree in your garden then this is the best way to use up a glut of the sharp tasting fruit – turning them into a delicious sweet jelly. If you don’t have a jelly bag and stand to strain the fruit pulp you can improvise by using 2-3 layers of clean muslin cloth tied to the legs of an upturned stool. Don’t be tempted to squeeze the bag or the jelly will end up cloudy.
- 2 kg crab apples
- 1.5 litres water
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Approx 750g granulated sugar
Cut the apples into chunks without peeling or coring and place in a preserving pan with the lemon, cinnamon and water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 1 hr until the apples are very soft and pulpy, stirring occasionally.
Cool for 10 mins then spoon the fruit pulp and liquid into a jelly bag and leave to strain into a large bowl for at least 12 hrs or overnight.
Discard the pulp remaining in the jelly bag. Measure the strained juice and pour it into a large pan (or the clean preserving pan) with 450g of sugar for each 600ml of juice.
Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for about 15-20 mins. Remove the pan from the heat and test for setting point by spooning a little of the hot jelly onto a chilled saucer. Leave for 2-3 mins then push your finger through the jelly – if it wrinkles it is ready. If the jelly is still runny, boil for a further few mins then test again.
To give the jelly a lovely pink hue replace 250g of the crab apples with 250g redcurrants or cranberries.