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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Making Crab Apple Jelly

Crab Apples are a part of nearly any city. These trees are planted for their unique foliage and beautiful blossoms. It is a shame that so many people think of the crab apples themselves as little more than a nuisance.

The upside to so many people not using the fruit themselves is that they will often let you scour their trees as well as any you might be so lucky to have. This was my first attempt at Crab Apple Jelly and I would like to thank Suite 101 ( ) for the recipe that I used as my starting point. I changed the recipe slightly however.
The recipe I used was

9 cups crabapples
Zest of 1 small lemon
3 cups sugar

Clean the crabapples removing any unusable apples, along with stems and leaves. Cut the crab apples in half if they are small, or quarters if they are very large. This will allow the most flavor to be extracted from the crab apples. Place into a pot, and add water until you can see it, but not to the point that the apples float. Add the lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through a cheesecloth and strainer saving the liquid. You will have about 4 cups of liquid remaining. If you press the apples in the strainer, you will have a cloudy jelly.

Return the liquid to the heat and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes. Add the sugar. Heat until the liquid is 220 degrees F. Pour into sterilized jars and seal the jars in a water bath.
Out of 9 cups of roughly cut crabapples, I made approximately 1 and 1/2 pints of jelly once some of the liquid had evaporated.

Here are the crabapples and lemon zest. I used mostly an orange yellow crabapple with a few very small dark purple crabapples. I do not know the varieties, but the yellow seemed to be a bit sweeter.

Here is the liquid after extracting the juice. A bit cloudy and a pale pink, I reheated it to boiling and then added the sugar.
The finished Jelly in jars. Notice how much darker the color became. This is my first expirament with jelly making and I am extremely please with the results. The color is gorgeous and the flavor is like a sweet apple, with enough tartness to make it interesting.
I hope that you all enjoyed my little jelly making adventure.

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