Learning to Preserve 3: Apple Jelly

I saw a recipe in our ancient Reader’s Digest book for apple jelly and I couldn’t get it out of my head. The apples we have at the moment are sharp and flavourful with a pink tinge to them so I thought they would be perfect.


I was under no illusions that as a novice, jelly was a slightly ambitious undertaking but I went for it anyway. The first step was to cook the apples with some water down to pulp.


Then use a jelly strainer to extract the juice. Only the book said there was no point buying one and to just tie a cloth to an upturned stool. We don’t have a stool, so I came up with this magnificent contraption:


The idea here is to get the juice and none of the pulp so you can have clear jelly in the end. This means no poking or prodding, you just have to wait.


After a night of straining, I was left with about a litre of pink juice! This is brought to the boil, then sugar is added and it is boiled until it reaches the setting point, adding some lemon juice at the last minute. This took a lot longer than the recipe said, and I am glad I had a sugar thermometer, otherwise I would have just put it in the jars before it was ready.


Ah yes, the jarring. The jelly actually started to set in the pan as I was trying to put it in the jars so that was interesting. I managed though, and I think it was alright for a first attempt!

The verdict: The jelly set well, and is a really nice amber colour. It tastes good too – the lemon juice was definitely a good addition. It is apple-y and sweet, but with a little sharpness. It is great on brioche!


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