Wild Hedgerow Apple Jelly
Visiting the in- laws and walking Duke the Labrador puppy on Christmas day was an experience in itself. We came across a wild apple tree that had just about dropped its whole crop of wild apples. I got all excited as one of my fabulous Christmas presents were a couple of vintage jelly moulds and I thought why not make Wild Apple Jelly on Boxing day. Luckily we had a few clean plastic bags and we all started picking the wild apples.
Duke was keen to help, by stuffing his face with wild apples, not a good idea as it resulted in a painful tummy later that day. Armed with about 2.5kg of wild apples we headed home. As we had picked the wild apples from the hedgerow it was very important that we washed them carefully and very well. Changing the water a couple of times and using a sharp pairing knife we cut the bad bits out and then cut the wild apples in half. By cutting the apples in half helps the seeds to release the natural pectin that will set the jelly naturally. Wild apples are better known as crab apples, however this particular tree was not cultivated and had grown in the hedgerow.
- 2kg wild or crab apples, cleaned and cut in half
- juice of one lemon
- 1.4kg unrefined castor sugar
Wash the wild apples a couple of times in clean cold water. Use a nailbrush to remove all the dirt and a sharp pairing knife to remove all the bruises. Cut the apples in half.
Place the clean apples in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. I use a small side plate to weigh the apples down otherwise they float and cook unevenly. Bring the apples to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Turn the heat off and let the wild apples cool completely. Pour the apples in to a jelly bag or a large sieve lined with muslin cloth, let it hang over night to ensure that all the goodness passes in to the liquid.
The following day measure the liquid, I use 10 parts of apple liquid to 7 parts of unrefined castor sugar. Place the sugar, liquid and lemon juice in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Use a ladle to remove the impurities, turn to a gentle simmer, do not boil too fast as it will make the jelly cloudy. Continue skinning the impurities and cook the jelly for approximately 40 - 45 minutes. Test the jelly by placing a small plate in the fridge, pour a tablespoon of jelly on to the cold plate, if the jelly sets and you run your finger through the jelly and it does not run then the jelly is ready. Let the jelly cool slightly before you pour the warm jelly in to the warm clean and sterilised glass jars.
Let the Wild Hedgerow Apple Jelly set completely before enjoying with roast pork, venison or cheese.
Makes approximate 4 x 250g jars of jelly