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Traditional Apple Jelly & Hedgerow Jelly Recipe

Traditional Apple Jelly & Hedgerow Jelly Recipe

Posted by Jenny Wilson on 24th Oct 2017

I have an apple tree in my back garden that was planted around sixty years ago. 

The apples it produces are of the cooking variety and quite small (being somewhere between a golf ball and tennis ball size) but they are organic and useful for making a small quantity of homemade apple jelly. 

The following recipe for apple jelly can be used as the model for Hedgerow Jelly using Rose-hips, Elderberries and Blackberries in any proportions you can forage and as long as the mix includes 50% high pectin Crab (or cooking) apple.

Ingredients:

4kg Crab Apples (or Cooking Apples)

1 Lemon

2kg Caster Sugar

Method:

Wash and quarter the Crab (or Cooking) Apples, but leave in the cores because they contain pectin for setting the jelly.

Put the apples in a large heavy pan or cauldron with enough water to just cover them. Bring to the boil and simmer until fruit is pulpy and soft (25-30 mins).

Pour pulp into a jelly bag (or double layers of muslin - as you can see mine was pink!) and let drip into a pan overnight. Tying the corners of the bag to an upside-down stool with the bowl underneath is ideal.

If you hurry the process by squeezing the bag this will make the jelly cloudy but if you are unworried about aesthetics, squeeze the last drop out.

Next morning, measure the apple juice and add sugar at a ratio of 500g sugar to 1 Litre of juice. Tip into a saucepan, add juice of the lemon and bring to the boil, stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve any sugar. Remove any surface scum.

Boil hard for 10 mins, then test for setting point with a sugar thermometer: this is 105 degrees centigrade. Alternatively, have a fridge chilled pudding spoon on standby. Put a small amount of jelly on the back of a spoon. If it solidifies it is set. If it is still liquid, boil some more, then repeat the test.

When setting point is reached, remove from the heat and ladle the jelly into warm sterilised jars. Cover with a waxed paper disc, tightly seal with a lid and store in a cool dark place. The jelly should keep for a year. A more savoury jelly can be obtained by adding herbs, such as sage and rosemary.

My little apple tree only makes one and a half jars but if you have a larger quantity of cooking apples you could make more.

Jenny x