Going Crabapple Crazy

16 Sep

The past week has seen me very busy in the kitchen, not making cake. Not cake, you cry! Yes, I’ve been bottling Crabapple jelly. Our trees are covered in them and there’s nothing nicer than making something gorgeous using little more than the free food in the garden. If you have access to crabapples, try it.

I started by picking 2 kilograms of fruit, washing it, and with the help of my wonderful sister, cutting it up and removing the yukky bits.  This is more fun when you also wear the fruit as earrings, the way we did with cherries when we were kids. have some tea and some company and this boring chore goes by in a flash.

Put all the fruit (2kg) into a jam pan and enough water to cover (about 1,5 – 2 litres will do) and bring it slowly to the boil, stirring all the time. It will bubble up and become soft and mushy. While it is reaching mush point, get your muslin cloth and jam stand ready. Your what? Ah yes, me too. So I improvised. Clothes pegs and a clean tea towel over a large saucepan, and voila!

It did the trick! Into this pour the pulpy mush and allow it to drip for several hours – I left mine overnight.

When you carefully remove the peg ‘n’ towel strainer, you’ll find a beautiful liquid in the bottom of the saucepan. Measure the amount of liquid you have. To every 500 ml add 450 g granulated sugar. Stir the sugar into the liquid until it dissolves and bring it to the boil.

A fabulous rolling boil is what you’re after. Keep on stirring and keep testing for ‘jelling’ point. I do this by dropping a little of the liquid onto a cold saucer, waiting a few moments and then giving it a push with a wooden spoon. You’ll know when it starts to jellify because the drop won’t spread, and the spoon will leave a little pathway.

It looks opaque at this stage but don’t worry. As soon as you pour it into the jars you’ll see how gloriously clear it is, and the colour is indescribably beautiful. Pour it into sterilised jars (see Hints and Tips on sterilising) and stand back and admire your handiwork before sealing and labelling.

I sealed these with wax discs and cellophane (available from hardware stores – seriously!) and then prettified them with cute, but totally unnecessary, frilly hats.

They make gorgeous gifts, if you have any left, because a bit of brie on toast, topped with a blob of Crabapple Jelly, is simply divine.  Yum.

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