Crab Apple Jelly
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    Makes approximate 4 x 250g jars of jelly
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Crab apples planted in hedgerows by farmers not only provide shelter and food for wildlife and protect the farmers crops and bordering their land but it’s also a great source of free food for us to forage and find. You cannot simply make yourself at home and must follow the forages code of conduct and ensure you get appropriate permission to do so.

Crab apples are usually available late spring and early winter.

It’s important to clean anything  your forage from hedgerows. Cleaning the crab apples is no different, was in cold water changing the water a couple of times and using a sharp pairing knife we cut the bad bits out and then cut the crab apples in half. By cutting the apples in half helps the seeds to release the natural pectin that will set the jelly naturally. photo of crab apples

Ingredients & Method

  • 2kg crab apples, cleaned and cut in half
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1.4kg caster 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 caster 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 crab apple set completely before enjoying with roast pork, venison or cheese.