Thursday, August 7, 2014

Crabapple Jelly!

Let me introduce to you crabapple jelly, yes you heard me, crabapple! That beautiful tree that blooms these wonderful blooms in spring and produces these tiny TINY apples that taste like the most awful, sour, disgusting apples you have ever tasted.  Yes, those horrible little apples make a wonderful, delicious (can't stop eating it) JELLY!

My neighbors are amazing, the best neighbors you could hope for.  They keep their yard and house clean and tidy, updating it as needed.  They have taken us under their wings and love us like family; my little rugrat even calls them Nana and Papa!  They keep a garden and fruit trees and love to share the bounty of their labor (yay for us).  They helped me put up tons of apples for the fall and taught me a lot about canning, preserving and being extra frugal.  After helping them install a garage door one morning they asked the rugrat and I to stay for lunch. She made fresh biscuits and gravy from scratch, scrambled eggs and cooked sausage, all in under 20 minutes, a real pro!  Well mid way through the meal she pulled out a can of this beautiful pink jelly saying she made is the past summer from the apples from her crabapple tree.  I'd be lying if I told you I wasn't apprehensive, after I tasted a very small bite (to be courteous) I was over the moon in-love with this jelly!! I almost ate half the jar! I kept an eye on her tree this year waiting on the apples to ripen and when they did the rugrat and I helped pick the tiny apples and our neighbor said she would set some aside for me to make jelly for myself!  I was so eager and excited, I wanted to plant a whole orchard of crabapple trees!

So here is how we did it...grab the canning and preserving book from 1991(ish) and flip to the crabapple jelly recipe....don't have the book? Me either...

What you will need:

White sugar

Wash and de-stem your apples and cut off the blossom bottom and cut in half, no need to core, deseed or skin the apples, leave all that!

Dump the apples in a large pot and pour water just covering the apples and bring to a boil. Cook apples till soft, and mash them just a little.

Strain apples into a bowl or jar (I prefer a jar, that way you can see how it seperates).  Compost or discard mashed apples.

Measure 4 cups of apple juice and 4 cups of sugar and bring to a boil, stirring frequently (to get clear and pretty jelly allow apple juice to sit overnight and the thick pulpy water will settle, don't use it and don't shake, your jelly will be cloudy, if you don't have time this will not alter the taste. Pour from jar only the clear pink juice from the top).

Bring apple juice and sugar to a boil and cook until it "sheets" from the spoon. (If you are a beginner like me, and don't really know what "sheets" means, I'm with you. The mixture will thicken after 10-15 minutes of boiling and should slide off the spoon like a sheet.  You will see it start to thicken after about 10 minutes, keep cooking, otherwise your jelly will be soupy.)

Once it sheets off the spoon remove it from the heat and pour into the canning jars. Seal tightly and can in a water bath for 5 minutes.

Enjoy! I made two batches and got 3 pints and 4 half pints. Wish I had more apples, I'd make 6 more batches!

*only make one batch at a time, otherwise it might not set right or at all!

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