Crab Apple Jelly


Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

Crab Apple Jelly
I am always amazed at the sight of wild crab apples hanging from autumnal branches in the woods where you least expect to see apples. Sometimes there is the sad site of a tree that has lost its load and there is a carpet of apples at its feet. Slowing fermenting in the late indian summer or being nibbled by muntjac deer. Too sour to eat raw they make a lovely jelly and combined with a few sloes or rosehips to add a red glow they form a work of art with the sun glinting through them on the kitchen shelf.

This is a delicious jelly to eat with lamb but can be a useful accompaniment to many dishes. The addition of sloes or rosehips will add a pleasant tinge of red to the jelly. You could also try cranberries. You could leave out the rosemary for a plainer version. You can also add a pint of cider vinegar which gives the jelly a bit of a kick.
A big bag of crab apples
2 hand fuls of rosehips or sloes
You will need to measure the resulting juices but about 3Ibs of sugar for 3 pints of liquid but this will depend on how much you obtain from your apples.
Sprigs of rosemary.

Every pint of liquid use a lb of sugar
Collect a bag of wild crab apples avoiding heavily bruised ones. About 3 lb.
Wash the apples and chop into quarters. Put them in a preserving pan and cover with water. Then cook until they all go soft and mash them up a bit with a wooden spoon.
Cook up the rosehips or sloes in a separate pan with water and cook until they go mushy and then add the mush to the main mix.
Pour all the mix into a jelly bag and leave overnight for the juice to drip out. You are left with a clear juice.
Simmer the liquid in a pan (about 20 minutes) with the sprigs of resemary to create an infusion then strain back into the preserving pan.
Measure the liquid and then add 1 lbs of sugar for every pint of liquid. Boil rapidly until a set is obtained. The sound of boiling will change and it goes frothy on top. Use a saucer from the freezer to test the set by putting a dropof the liquid back in the freezer for a minute or two to cool. Test to see if it has set.
Skim the liquid and then pour into heated jars. As they cool put a fresh sprig of rosemary into each jar for decoration.