For those of you who’ve read my Apple Picking post from earlier this week, you’d know I have a lot of apples at home, waiting to be cooked or eaten. An apple a day, they say, but I am not about to simply eat them raw for 24 days straight! No no no no no…. that’s not how I roll.
So as the first of many apple posts coming along this week, I present to you, Apple Jelly!
I’ve always looked at the signs in stores selling ‘Jams and Jellies’ curiously, because I always thought they were the same thing! For those of you who, like me, always wondered what the difference between a jelly and a jam is, here is the answer. Jams are made using crushed fruit (pulp and juice), but jellies are made using juice only. So they are more transparent and jelly-like in texture, whereas Jam feels more opaque and ‘clotted’.
This lovely recipe comes from Sarah Jackson, a YouTube uploader. See the full video instruction here.
I have plans to use this up in other apple recipes, and I wanted something translucent, without texture or body of its own, and Apple Jelly seemed like it fit the bill.
The best thing about this jelly, is that it does not use any artificial preservatives, or colors, or even pectin! The jelly firms up using the natural pectin present in apple peel and the lemon juice. And the lovely reddish color comes from the cinnamon powder. I think that’s just brilliant!
And who would have thought, apple jelly would be one of my 5 ingredient or less things! Hmm…
Extract the apple ‘juice’ by boiling the apples in water with cinnamon. Make sure there’s enough water to submerge the apples in. Cook the apples in medium heat till they turn to mush and the skin separates.
Place a colander/sieve over a pan and lay a kitchen towel / cheesecloth / any fine meshed cloth over the colander to filter the apples in.
Pour the cooked apple puree over the prepared ‘filtration system’. We want the juice from the apples to drip through the cloth, through the sieve and collect into the bowl. Make sure the bowl is large enough to hold all the liquid.
Cover and let sit for 6-12 hours or overnight. Do not be tempted to squeeze the juice out. It’ll make the jelly ‘clouded’ and not translucent and clear like we want it to be.
While that’s dripping, make sure to sterilize empty glass jars. Always prepare more jars than you think you’ll need. Because each apple has it’s own water and juice content. And you may get slightly more or less than what you planned for.
To sterilize the jars, simply soak and wash them in soap to remove any oils or dust. Then boil the jar and lid in water. Let it drain naturally and completely dry over a wire rack.
In the morning, you’ll see clear, pinkish brown liquid, free from any cloudiness or pulp.
Next, we cook the apple juice to make our jelly. Take the apple juice that drained from the pulp to a large pan. Add the required amount of sugar (see note under ingredients list), 1tsp cinnamon powder and lemon juice. And bring to a boil over high heat.
The next few steps demand you to stand near the stove at all times. Pay attention!
After a few minutes, you will notice a white froth forming over the boiling apple juice. Skim off all the froth.
Slowly the white froth formation will slow down. Continue to skim and remove all the remaining white froth, until only clear liquid remains. Collect the froth in a bowl.
You will also notice that with time, the froth will also attain jelly like texture, forming ‘wrinkles’ as you skim it off. The skimmed froth (which you’ve been collecting in a bowl), will also start to solidify and turn ‘jelly’ like.
At this time, you can check the ‘pectin’ formation. Take a spoon (that was kept in the freezer for a few minutes until cold), and dip into the jelly. Take it out, and let it drip back into the pan. If a small layer of jelly remains on the spoon, it is ready to be bottled. Else boil for a little while longer, and repeat spoon test.
Transfer to the sterilized bottles. Let it cool and set for about 6 hours or overnight. You can put the lid on when all the steam has gone and the bottle is still slightly warm to the touch.
Enjoy fresh, homemade apple jelly!