Crab Apple Jelly Recipe

We are fortunate to have an ancient crab apple tree in the garden which produces dense clusters of small yellow-green crab apples at this time of year. They have a high level of pectin when unripe and small, creating a very delicious jelly.

We eat ours with cheese, cold roast meat or with fruit and yoghurt or on buttered toast or crackers.

Yield: Approximately 2 225g


  • 1 kilogram (about 2.2 pounds) crab apples
  • Water
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemon juice


  • Maslin saucepan or large pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Jelly bag or cheesecloth
  • Jug or bowl
  • Saucer
  • Sterilized jars with lids


  1. Prepare the Crab Apples:
    • Wash the crab apples thoroughly, removing any stems, leaves, and bruised fruit.
  2. Cook the Apples:
    • Place the washed crab apples in a maslin saucepan and cover them with water.
    • Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.
    • Cook the apples until they become soft and mushy, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. This will take about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Extract the Juice:
    • Place a jelly bag or cheesecloth over a jug or bowl.
    • Carefully pour the cooked crab apples and their liquid into the bag. Allow the juice to drip into the jug. Avoid squeezing the bag to prevent cloudiness in the juice. Let it drip naturally for a few hours or until the dripping stops.
  4. Measure the Juice and Add Sugar:
    • Measure the collected crab apple juice.
    • For every 10 parts of juice, add 7 parts of granulated sugar to the maslin saucepan.
    • Squeeze in the juice of a lemon to help with flavor and natural pectin content.
  5. Boil and Skim:
    • Gently heat the mixture, stirring to dissolve the sugar completely.
    • Once the sugar is dissolved, raise the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.
    • Skim off any froth or scum that forms on the surface during boiling.
  6. Test for Set:
    • To check for the setting point, place a saucer in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.
    • Place a small amount of the boiling crab apple liquid on the cold saucer and push it with your finger.
    • If the liquid wrinkles and forms a skin, it has reached the setting point. If not, continue boiling and retest after a few more minutes.
  7. Fill and Store:
    • Once the setting point is reached, remove the saucepan from the heat.
    • Carefully spoon the hot crab apple jelly into sterilized, warm jars, leaving a little space at the top.
    • Seal the jars with lids immediately.
    • Label the jars with the date and contents.
  8. Cool and Store:
    • Allow the jars to cool completely before moving them to storage.
    • Store the crab apple jelly in a cool, dark place, such as a north-facing cupboard or pantry.
  9. Enjoy:
    • Once the jelly has fully cooled and set, you can enjoy it with various dishes like cheese, cold roast meat, fruit and yogurt, or spread on buttered toast or crackers.

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