Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Apple Jelly

Doesn't it look like melted down jewels a jar? I love the colours of preserves, my shelves are struggling to hold up the glass jars of different hues, orangy amber mango chutney, tawny plum jam, turmeric yellow apple chutney, ruby red tomato ketchup and today's wee project, apple jelly with the most beautifully jewel-like clarity.

My friend (and vegetable guru) Keith allowed me to scrump a bag of apples while I was raiding his plum tree last week (check out the plum ketchup recipe) and instead of peeling and freezing them - for winter apple pies -  as I do when I have too many apples, I wanted to produce a preserve to give us a little bit of summer warmth deep into our gloomy borders winter.

The kids love apple jelly on bread for packed lunch, (as much because they helped pick the apples as for the flavour.) I like it on the side of roast pork and the apple and chilli jelly makes a gorgeous crostini appetiser atop a sliver of  goat cheese.

I added a plum, no good reason, I just had one in my fruit bowl that needed used and I thought I would throw it in to see what happened. I don't think it affected the flavour at all but ....the colour oh my god..... the colour is divine. So cidery in aroma, appley in flavour and clear with an ochre tint in colour, the loveliest apple jelly, thanks Keith.

Apple Jelly
2kg apples, quartered, stalks and leaves removed, seeds and cores left
1.2l water
900g sugar

 Put all the fruit in a saucepan with the measured water. Bring to the boil and turn down the heat to a simmer. Cook until the fruit is soft and breaking up, around 20mins. Remove from the heat.
Pour everything into a jelly bag (or muslin cloth tied to each leg of a stool with a bowl underneath to gather the nectar as it drips down) and leave to drip overnight. DO NOT SQUEEZE!!! the jelly will lose its clarity if you do.

The next day, put the apple juices and sugar into a large pan and bring to the boil. Keep stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil rapidly without stirring for 10-15 mins until you reach setting point ( 105 degrees apparently but I drop a spoonful of jelly onto a cold saucer, allow to cool then push with my finger - if the jam crinkles then it is ready to be taken off the heat). Pour into warm sterililsed jars, seal and label. Use within one year.
(For Apple and Chilli Jelly - stir in 2 finely chopped red chillis for the last few minutes of boiling, they set beautifully suspended in the jelly)

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