As a child, we yearly made jelly from the crabapples that came from the crabapple tree out front. My mother and I made a LOT of jelly. The crabapples were small and the tree was purchased with the nursery claiming it wouldn’t fruit at all. Or at least that was the legend. It did though and we made jelly from the small, cherry sized crabapples. I remember hours of cleaning, pulling stems, sterilizing jars, boiling, and pouring paraffin on top.
Making jelly really isn’t as time consuming or as complicated as you might think though and the results are so worth it. On Sunday evening, Rebecca and I set forth to make Apple Jelly. Apple is the simplest because you don’t need pectin or anything special.
It came out perfectly jelly-not runny, cloudy or even a wee bit odd. It does have a strong honey flavor to it because of the types used (explained below) and well, we haven’t waited long enough for the cinnamon to really do its work. It is fantastic spread on toasted English muffins though.
I swear, this will be the last apple post I will torture you with for quite some time. Tomorrow I am finishing off the bag of apples with some apple butter making.
Honey Apple Cinnamon Jelly
5-6 lbs apples (We used a variety of windfall apples)
Wash apples. Remove stems and dark spots and quarter apples. Do not pare or core. Place in a stainless steel or enamel saucepan and add enough water to half cover the apples. Cook until apples are soft. Skim off any foam. Drain using a jelly bag if you can find one. We used cheesecloth folded in thirds. You’ll get more juice if you squeeze the bag but then you risk a cloudy jelly. Measure 6 cups of juice. You can add water to the pulp to get more juice, but it is better I think if you just squeeze a bit and be patient. Add about 1/2 cup honey for every cup juice. We used a combination of cranberry blossom, tupelo and clover because that is what we had on hand. In general, the rule is to get a very light honey so you don’t get too much honey flavor. Boil honey and water until a good jelly test is obtained.
We used a combination of thermometer and the spoon test. Add a cinnamon stick to each hot, sterilized half-pint jar, leaving 1/4-inch headspace, and seal. Process for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Yield: 5 half-pints