“The practice of putting by summertime produce for winter use was a necessity, not a luxury.” This quote is from The Fannie Farmer Cookbook published in 1906. It was a period when the country was more rural and people lived off their land. I have the 1979 version which I used extensively as a young cook. Over the years, I have made my fair share of jams, jellies, and pickles. If this is your first time getting into making preserves, one of the easiest to make is fruit jelly. My daughter and son-in-law have a large crabapple tree in their backyard. So, a couple of weeks ago I asked if I could pick some to make crabapple jelly. They were happy to receive my offer.
The ingredients to make crabapple jelly are simple; sugar, water, and fruit.
you will need
3 lbs. crabapples
3 cups sugar
Wash fruit thoroughly and cut in half (remove stems). Place in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Add water to just cover the crabapples. Cover and cook over low heat until the juice flows freely, about 15 minutes (depending on the fruit). Pour into a damp jelly bag or through several layers of damp cheesecloth draped ever a colander set over a large bowl. This allows the juice to drip freely. Give it about an hour or more for all the juice to drip through. You should end up with 4 cups of juice.
Take the extracted juice and measure 4 cups. Place in a large pot and boil for 5 minutes. Add sugar (1 cup for each cup of juice). Boil until the mixture jells (about 10 to 30 minutes). Test for the jellying point by doing a spoon or sheet test. Once done, skim off the foam and pour the jelly into hot, sterilized jars. Seal immediately with metal lids. Place these jars into a large pot with boiling water, known as the water-bath method. Boil for 10 minutes. Remove from pot and set on a wire rack to cool down. You will hear a ‘popping’ noise as the jars cool and that’s a good thing! This means the seal has been achieved. Store in a cool place. Once opened, refrigerate.
the culinary chase’s note:
Although the obvious use for jelly is on toast, however, you can also use it in gravies, on pork roasts, with cheese and crackers, or used as a finishing glaze for ribs. Enjoy!