Friday, October 11, 2013

Crabapple Jelly

Have you heard of crabapples?  They're tiny little apples that are in abundance here.  When I saw the crabapple trees here I instantly remembered my childhood.  My grandparents had a crabapple tree in their back yard.  I remember climbing in that tree and playing all over it.  I would pick the apples and make a pretend stew out of them.  My grandmother would use the apples to make jelly.  Then one year my grandparents cut down that tree.  I don't know why but they did.

So I decided to try my hand at making crabapple jelly.  I was super nervous about making this since I've never done it before.  But after making 3 batches of jelly I would say I'm pretty confident now.

Wanna try this?  Here is what you'll need:

Crabapples (I had 6 pounds of apples for my first two batches)
Cheesecloth or mesh strainer

First, you will need to cut off the stems and blossoms of the crabapples.  Once you have completed that add your crabapples to a pot.  Add in enough water just to cover the apples.  I used a measuring cup and for my first batch I added 8 cups of crabapples.

Bring the apples to a boil.  Turn down the heat, cover, and let the apples boil for 30-40 minutes.  The apples will come apart and change color.  Be sure to stir the apples occasionally.  As you stir you will see the water start to change color.

Put several layers of cheesecloth over a pot.  I used clips to hold the cheesecloth in place.  Pour out the crabapples onto the cheesecloth.  Let all the juice drain through.  This can take a while.  You can let the apples sit over night or 2-4 hours.

Some of the blogs I read said don't squeeze the apples to get more juice out as that can make your jelly cloudy.  After the juice finished draining I wrapped the cheese cloth around the apples and gave them a gentle squeeze.  I made sure not to squeeze too hard so that pulp didn't come through.  I think as long as the pulp doesn't come through you will be fine.

Add the fresh juice to a pot.  My first batch I had 4 cups of juice so I used a measuring cup and poured that in the pot.  Add in your pectin.  I bought the jar of pectin and not a pouch.  If you buy the jar pectin 5 tablespoons equals 1 pouch of pectin.  After adding the pectin bring the juice to a steady boil while stirring constantly.

Turn down the heat and add your 3 cups of sugar.  Bring the juice to a boil again for 1 minute.  Take off the heat and ladle into clean sterile jars.

You can add your jars to a hot water bath but I just turned my jars upside down on a towel.  The heat from the juice will seal your jars.  Leave your jars upside down until they have cooled a bit.  Feel your lid and see if it pops.  When the lid doesn't pop anymore that means it's sealed and you can flip it right side up.

Isn't that just pretty jelly??  I think so!  I went back and made a second batch with the rest of my apples.  Total with 6 pounds of apples I got 5 1/2 jars of jelly.  The half jar is what we used first!

Eat up!!

***For my 3rd batch of jelly I used a steam juicer.  I got 3 cups of juice from that.  Before I added the pectin to my juice I added 1 cup of water.  That way I had the 4-3 ratio (4 cups juice 3 cups sugar).  I added 5 tablespoons of pectin since that equals 1 pouch of pectin.  The 3rd batch made 3 more jars of jelly so now I have 8 jars of crabapple jelly.  This should last us a while!!

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