If you grow your own apples, or live somewhere like Orange where apples are aplenty, occasionally you might end up with a massive surplus of them taking up valuable space in your fridge, or worse, going stale on the bench.
Apples are a versatile fruit that can be added to all sorts of cakes and desserts, but to make apple jelly is something special.
That golden honey jelly is so fragrant and versatile that I’m surprised it’s not as common as it should be.
Years ago it was a real treat when my father would pass through Hartley and bring home jars of apple jelly for us all to savour.
So when we decided to make apple jelly and bottled those first jars, those memory triggers came flooding back.
Apple jelly is actually quite simple to make but does take a bit of time.
2kg of apples. (The darker skinned varieties like pink lady and royal gala will give you a darker jelly. We used a mix of damaged pink ladies and royal gala.)
12 cups of water
2kgs of sugar. (You may not need it all depending on the amount of juice.)
STEP ONE. Measure the apples and then chop them up. Best thing about apple jelly is that you can use all your second and third grade fruit. Unlike jam where it’s best to use good quality fruit, jelly is suitable for all the dodgy stuff. Just cut the bugs out if using home grown organic fruit. You don’t have to peel them or core them either just chop them up.
STEP TWO: Add the water and bring it all to the boil. Once the fruit is just cooked, using a potato masher, make it all mushy.
STEP THREE: Drain out all the appley goodness. This is why second or third grade fruit is perfect for this. It matters not what the fruit looks like. Place a piece of muslin over a strainer and pour the unappealing mass of fruit into it. Then tie up the muslin sack and hang it over the saucepan for 12 hours. For a clear jelly it’s important NOT to squeeze the sack.
STEP FOUR: Measure out the juice and for every cup of juice, add one cup of sugar.
STEP FIVE: Place this mix over the heat and bring it to the boil. After 15 – 30 minutes the mix will begin to thicken and you can add the 25gms of Jamsetta, or whatever pectin sugar product you need, if it isn’t thickening up enough, at this point. Test the setting point by placing a plate in the freezer until it’s extremely cold. Once it’s cold enough drop some jelly on it and return it to the freezer. After a few minutes retrieve it and push it with your finger. If it wrinkles up and feels thick enough to stick as a glob to your finger, it’s ready.
STEP SIX: Sterilize your jars by boiling them and placing them in a warm, not hot, oven. Let the jam cool for about five minutes and pour it into the jars. Let it cool before sealing to prevent condensation forming inside the jar. Then it’s all done. Pretty easy really.