Prep Time:30 minutes plus overnight draining of juices
Cook Time:45 minutes plus canning time
Total Time:43 minute
Yield:8 - 10 jars 1x
4 lbs crab apples
4 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon store-bought bottled lemon juice
1. Gather 4 lbs of crabapples from your tree or ask a neighbour for some of theirs in return for jelly. Let’s face it, it would be hard to use all the crab apples on any tree and I’m sure they’d love to give you some of theirs for jelly in return.
2. Wash the apples and remove the stem and blossom ends.
3. Cut the apples in half (do not core) and place them in a large stockpot and cover with cold water.
4. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently and then reduce the heat and boil gently stirring and crushing the apples until soft – about 30 minutes or so.
5. Pour the apple mixture through a cheese-clothed lined large sieve set over a large bowl. Let the juice drip (without aiding or abetting it) at least 2 hours or overnight. Note: You’ll need to reap at least 4 cups of juice from this (if you don’t have enough you can top it up some regular apple juice).
6. Prepare your canner, lids and jars. I put my jars in the dishwasher and run them through. When they are done, I put them on a cookie sheet in a 150F oven to keep them warm. I put my lids and rings in a pot of freshly boiled water and lift them out with a magnet lifter (available anywhere canning supplies are). I inherited a large canning bath from a friend who was downsizing – they aren’t expensive if you need to buy one. I fill it about two-thirds as the jars will displace volume as you set them in.
7. Combine the 4 cups of crabapple juice with 4 cups of sugar (this is needed for the fruit to gel properly) and the 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice in a deep stockpot. Tip: Use store-bought bottled, and preferably organic, lemon juice because it has a set pH. Avoid using fresh lemons because you won’t know what the pH is and your batch may not turn out if the pH is too low or too high.
8. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve all the sugar. Boil hard, stirring frequently until the jelly starts to “sheet” (Use a cold metal spoon to pick up some jelly and then turn it sideways. If the jelly falls off in drops, it’s not done. If it falls off in a single sheet it is done) This should take about 25 minutes.
9. Remove the mixture from the heat at this point and skim off any pink foam that has accumulated.
10. Pour the hot jelly into the waiting jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. I use a glass 1 cup measuring cup with handle to do this.
11. Wipe the rims. Apply the lids and screw bands on until they are fingertip tight.
12. Place the jars in the canning water bath all at once, ensuring they are completely covered. Bring the water to a boil and process for 10 minutes once it reaches the boiling point.
13. Remove the canner lid, wait 5 minutes and remove jars to a counter lined with tea towels. Wrap the jars in the tea towels and they’ll cool more slowly and have more chance of sealing properly. Cool completely, then admire your work appropriately..
14. Store in a cool, place. Properly sealed jars will keep for years but why? Use them up!