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Autumn is a time of plenty and a great time to preserve some of the lovely autumnal produce on our doorsteps.

Apples, pears, plums, damsons, crab apples, medlars and quince if you’re lucky enough to grow or find them. My quince trees have come to an end this year due to a common blight but I’m planning on planting some new varieties that apparently will grow well here.

And then there’s the last of the tomatoes if you grow your own make a superb chutney to see you through the winter. All the jellies and chutneys are delicious served with cheese or ham and make a great addition to lunch.

Delicious served with bread and cheese or lovely cooked ham, it's also a great addition to a gravy.

Crab apples are ready in September, I have two trees in my garden.One is a really small, deep red variety and the other a small greenish yellow variety. Both make wonderful jellies.

Wee Buns Cookery School

Ingredients

  • 2.5kg / 5 ½ lbs crab apples
  • Granulated sugar
  • 1.7 litres / 3 pints water
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Knob of butter (optional)

Method

  1. Wash the apples well, cut into quarters ( don’t peel or core ) and put into a preserving pan with the water. Do not use bruised apples.
  2. Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for about 1 ½ hours until the fruit is really soft and pulpy.
  3. Stir from time to time to prevent sticking and add a little more water if necessary.
  4. Spoon the mixture into a jelly bag and leave to strain for a few hours or overnight until all of the liquid has strained through.
  5. Do not push the mixture through the jelly bag. The juice should run clear , any pulp will make your jelly cloudy. Discard the pulp.
  6. Butter the base of a clean preserving pan.
  7. Measure the liquid and add to the pan with 450g / 1 lb sugar for each 600ml / 1 pint of the juice.
  8. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  9. Then boil rapidly for 8 – 10 minutes or until setting point is reached.
  10. To test for setting point , remove the pan from the heat and put a spoonful of the hot jelly on a cold side plate and leave to set. If it wrinkles when you push it with your finger it is set.
  11. If not set, boil gain for a minute or two and test again. And repeat until set.
  12. Pot up immediately and seal with a lid in warm sterilised jars.

Notes

Will keep well for a year.
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