Recipe for Crab Apple Jelly

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.


Collect about a kilo of crab apples to make two 225g jars.

Wash the apples, removing any stems, leaves and bruised fruit.

Place in a maslin saucepan and cover the apples with water.

Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is soft and gluppy (this will take about 20-30 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon).

Pour the fruit pulp into a jelly bag and let it drip into a jug or bowl. Don’t squeeze the bag as this will make the juice cloudy and you want to get a clean, clear colour.

Measure the juice, and add sugar in a volume ratio of 10 parts juice to 7 parts of sugar, 10:7 volume. Add some lemon juice and bring the liquid to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Roll boil the liquid until you reach a set {which could be from 10 – 20 minutes, depending on the level of pectin in your apples – ours took 10 minutes}, skimming off the froth or scum.

To test the set, place a saucer in the fridge for half an hour. Place a small amount of the crab apple liquid on the cold saucer and push it with your finger. If the setting point has been achieved the liquid will crinkle-wrinkle and form a skin.

Spoon into sterilised warm jars, lid and label. Store the jars somewhere cool and dark – a north facing cupboard-larder-room is ideal.

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