Apple Jelly is a versatile preserve that’s simple to make and perfect for using up a glut of apples. A delicious alternative to jam as a spread on bread or a filling for cakes. It is also lovely served with savoury foods such as roast chicken, cooked ham, or cheese. In fact, anywhere that you might serve the more familiar redcurrant jelly.
This week is Bramley Apple week which gives me the perfect excuse to share a recipe that I was originally going to publish at the end of last year – Apple Jelly. With three mature apple trees at our cottages in Suffolk, we now have a lot of apples and as a result make lots of apple recipes: cakes, pies, and cider mainly, and this year, apple jelly. There were so many recipes I wanted to share with you, but during October when I made the apple jelly I was taking part in the Great Bloggers Bake Off and sadly ran out of time. While the best time to make Apple Jelly is when they are in season, you can make it at anytime of the year when apples are cheap and plentiful. Bramley apples store well and the price tends to be fairly static throughout the year. They are a good choice for making Apple Jelly if you don’t have your own supply of apples.
I experimented with three different varieties of apple we have to make the jelly: Discovery, a small bright red dessert apple; an unknown variety that we call October apple (as that is when it is ripe); and of course Bramley apples. Each batch of apples produced slightly varying amounts of juice and the resulting jelly came out a slightly different colour. Interestingly during storage they have now all darkened slightly and are almost identical. They also had subtly different flavours. Not surprisingly the Bramley Apple Jelly had a little more tang and for this reason I think it is the best for serving with savoury foods.
It was the first time I made Apple Jelly but it will not be the last, it’s so versatile and is a good condiment to have handy. It can be used instead of jam in many recipes. It also makes a great glaze for flans and tarts, simply warm gently before brushing on. Given my large supply this year I will be using it instead of apricot glaze. I also like a spoonful with roast chicken or pork. Give it a try and let me know how you like to serve it.
Step by step
- Wash the apples. Cut out and discard any bad bits, then cut into thick slices. There is no need to peel or core the apples. Place in a preserving pan or large saucepan and add the water.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and cook for about 30 minutes until the apples are very soft and mushy.
- Line a colander with a square of muslin (or use a jelly bag and stand) and set it over a large bowl. Spoon in the apples and juices and allow to stand for at least 4 hours or overnight until all the juices have dripped out. Do not be tempted to squeeze it to hurry it along as it will make the jelly cloudy if you do.
- Measure the apple juice into a large saucepan or preserving pan and for each 250ml/9floz (1cup) juice add 200g/7oz (1 cup) sugar. Add the lemon juice. Heat gently stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat and bring to a rolling boil.
- Continue to boil until the mixture reaches 105-110℃ /220-225°F on a thermometer and test for set. (A small blob will wrinkle when placed on a cold plate and left for a few minutes).
- When the jelly has reached setting point, pour into warm sterilised jars. Seal immediately and allow to cool.
- Label when cold and store in a cool, dark place. The jelly will keep for up to 1 year.