making crab apple and clove jelly

September 28, 2009 at 10:19 am 10 comments

crab apples in colander_side view close upYou may recall my tale of hunting the hedgerows in search of elusive crab apples?  Well thanks to the wonderful world of Freecycle a couple of days later I found myself at the top of Don’s step ladder picking the last of the crab apples from his neighbour’s tree.  How brilliant is that: a reply to my ‘wanted’ plea and help from Don to retrieve the crab apples when he could have been indoors packing his bags for his holiday.  I was glad I’d taken some allotment potatoes and beans by way of a thank you.  I might have returned with a jar of crab apple jelly if Don’s wife hadn’t already made her own  batch.  So thanks for sharing Don, I’ll see you next year!MOSAIC - crab apples

Crab apple liquid looks similar to pink grapefruit juice so it seemed a shame to add black berries to make more Hedgerow Jelly.  I chose a recipe from Sensational Preserves which is similar to Pam Corbin’s Spicy Crab Apple Jelly in The River Cottage Handbook (Pam adds a couple of cinnamon sticks).  Crab apples are too hard and sour to eat raw but ideal for jelly making because of their high pectin levels.  They’re too small to peel and core and suit the brilliantly easy process of jelly making where you simply chop them in half.   I had enough crab apples to make half the quantity of jelly, which made about 7 jars, and I added a couple of lemons before realising they weren’t mentioned in the recipe (too much marrow cream making obviously!).  My nan was here while I was making this so she is to blame thank for adding the lemons whole rather than juicing and zesting!

crab apple jelly making

Making crab apple and clove jelly

1.25 kg of crab apples
3 cloves

  • Put the chopped crab apples into a pan with the cloves and 1.5 pints (about 900ml) of water.  Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for about an hour until soft and pulpy.
  • Have ready a scaled muslin cloth to turn the contents of the pan into and leave to drip overnight (see making redcurrant jelly for details of how to make a DIY jelly strainer and why you shouldn’t rush this stage)
  • The next day measure the juice.  For every 600ml (1 pint) juice allow 450g sugar.  Put the juice into a large pan and slowly bring to the boil.  Add the sugar as it just comes to the boil and keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Then boil rapidly, without stirring, for 10 minutes until the setting point is reached.
  • Skim the jelly and pot and seal as quickly as possible.  Leave overnight to set.  Store in a cool, dark dry place and use within 12 months.crab apple jelly unlabelled

Entry filed under: in the kitchen. Tags: , .

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bilbo  |  September 28, 2009 at 11:22 am

    That looks quite scrumptious! What do you intend to serve it with?

  • 2. Nip it in the bud  |  September 28, 2009 at 11:57 am

    well I’m a a veggie so it gets spread on anything hot (toast, crumpets or spuds) or has potato wedges dipped in to it. mmmm. I reckon you could even pour boiling water onto a spoonful for a warming winter drink. I’ll try that and get back to you :o)

  • 3. mangocheeks  |  September 28, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Isn’t it great how people are willing to share some of their crop, in this case the crab apples.

    I don’t have the patience (or room in my flat) for the DIY jelly strainer. Perhaps it is the reason I have not made such jellies.

    Such a beautiful colour. You will have to share how it tastes too!

    • 4. Nip it in the bud  |  September 28, 2009 at 10:13 pm

      the clove taste is really delicate and it looks lovely, especially when the light catches it on the spoon before you lift it to your mouth (yes I do bypass the spreading stage sometimes!)

  • 5. Darla  |  September 28, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    You are a hard worker…Bilbo is on the road again!

  • 6. lucy  |  October 20, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    is there a crab apple that you cant eat

    • 7. Nip it in the bud  |  October 20, 2009 at 10:39 pm

      I hope not! A friend gave me some yesterday from her ‘ornamental’ tree and their different to these ones. Redder and more cherry like – they’re destined for jelly still though. All crab apples are inedible raw regardless of variety so I’m trusting all crab apples are fine when cooked up. If I stop replying to comments you’ll know somethings gone wrong :o)

  • 8. Jeannette  |  May 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    The way to tell if any apple is edible is to slice it in half, if the seeds create a star design then it is edible.

  • 9. David  |  September 30, 2013 at 2:24 am

    I am currently scanning the net to find how many cloves to add to my apple jelly to make it slightly clove-y. I don’t want it to be overpowering but I do want to taste it. Your recipe seems pretty standard and it looks delicious, but one question, why does one have to store it in a dry place since the jars are sealed with a metal lid? I mean you could probably leave it outside in the rain without detriment.

  • 10. nic@nipitinthebud  |  September 30, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Hi David, hope you found the clove-y answer you were looking for. This recipe certainly has a nice balance of sweet apple:smoky clove flavour.

    As for ‘leaving in a cool, dark, dry place‘ you’re right it’s all in the vacuum sealing. Which sadly has been faulty on more than one occasion for me and left me with mould growth on the top of my jellies; compounded by the only cold, dark place in our house with room to store preserves being the not-dry damp cellar!


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