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.
Crab Apple Jelly
2.5kg / 5 ½ lbs crab apples
1.5 litres / 3 ½ pints water approx
Wash the apples well, cut into quarters ( don’t peel or core and don’t use brusied apples) and put into a preserving pan with the water.
Make sure there is enough water to cover the apples. You may need more water , the amount required varies according to the variety of apple.
Bring to the boil and then simmer gently for about 30 minutes – 1 hour or until the fruit is really soft and pulpy.
Stir from time to time to prevent sticking and add a little more water if necessary.
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.
Do not push the mixture through the jelly bag.
The juice should run clear , any pulp will make your jelly cloudy. Discard the pulp.
Butter the base of a clean preserving pan.
Measure the liquid and add to the pan with 345g / 12 oz sugar for each 600ml / 1 pint of the juice.
Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Then boil rapidly for 8 – 10 minutes or until setting point is reached.
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.
If not set, boil gain for a minute or two and test again. And repeat until set. Pot up immediately and seal with a lid in warm sterilised jars. Will keep well for a year. Delicious served with cheese , cooked ham etc