Sunday, September 11, 2011

Wild Crabapple Jelly

I have never made jelly before.  Jams, yes with a package of Certo at the ready.  But, jelly from scratch?  it always seemed like it would be a tricky sort of alchemy that you work only if you've grown up with an old school Gramma who canned everything.  This site made it seem doable.
 I had seen the tree full of lovely red crabapples on my run during the week. It's a route I used to run in the winter and would never have seen the lone tree in the mix.  I decided that making jelly from a wild crabapple would be really cool.   I rode to site Saturday morning and realized that I was a couple of weeks too late.  Up close, most of the fruit had be partially devoured by hornets.  I went ahead and collected as many unblemished apples as I could

They are small like cherries and a lovely red.  I hoped this would bode well for the colour of the jelly.  I'd read some recipes where they had added food colour to give the jelly a deep red hue.  I was hoping this batch wouldn't need it.  Being small it took quite a few minutes to remove all the stems and blosssom ends and cut in half.  Thank fate they didn't need peeling!  I also thank Trev for giving me a hand.

It was a lovely afternoon to sit on the deck

All the fruit measured 8 cups when cut.  This is half of the amount used on the website I linked to above. MMs' instructions were clear and concise, but I was glad my amount wasn't an odd number.  She recommends half the amount of water to the amount of fruit.  So far so good.  8 cups fruit, 4 cups water. This was brought to a boil for 10 minutes before smooshing.

Once the fruit was boiled for 10 minutes, then mashed and cooked for another five,  it was put into a cheesecloth lined colander over a large bowl to let the juice extract itself.  You can supposedly buy a jelly strainer bag, but given how many people in the various stores I went to, looking for the cheesecloth - knew what cheesecloth was - I'm guessing that jelly making is a lost art here in South Ottawa.

The pulp is wonderfully red.  It took a couple of hours to drain.

Once the juice is drained and ready, MM recommends measuring it (making a note for future reference) and adding slightly less than that amount of sugar.  I had almost three cups, so I topped it up with a bit of water ( maybe 1/8 c) to make an even three.  I measured 3 cups sugar and then removed two spoonfuls. Once this mixture started to boil, it turned a gorgeous deep, clear red.  I was starting to get excited that this might work out after all!

Getting the temperature to 220*

I did a gel test as I was skimming off the foam and it really seemed like gelling was not going to be a problem.  Being nervous, this my first foray into jelly making, I did both the plate test and the spoon in the ice water test!  The stuff gelled like a dream!  The boiled jars were waiting in the oven at 225* and I had the lids boiling away and ready.  In the past when I've made jam according to the Certo instructions, I've never used a water bath.  I've had the canning pot for quite awhile, but have never used it!  So I popped the jars into the boiling water, waited for the boiling to commence again and set the timer for ten minutes

Make sure to start timing after the water has returned to a boil.

This morning, I popped open one of the jars and spread the jelly on hot, buttered toast.  It tasted just like Crabapple jelly should!  I got seven 250ml jars, just the right size for gifts.  Next year, I have to remember to go a week or so earlier and take Trev with me so we can get some of the fruit up high!

Like Jewels!

No comments: