“What grows together, goes together.” A wise old woodlanders saying and never so true as with crab apples and rose hips. In the hedgerows around my village there are plenty of crab apple trees and never far away your will find spectacular wild roses. This wonderfully tart crab apple jelly recipe is a bit time consuming, but its rewards are a gorgeous flavour and a no hassle set due to the high levels of pectin you find in any crab apple jelly recipe. If you like you can easily replace the crab apples with some ordinary eating apples. This is a great recipe to use up any windfalls.
Ingredients of this crab apple jelly recipe
- 2lb Rose hips
- 4lb Crab apples (or windfalls)
- 1 tsp citric acid
- 1.25lb Sugar per 1pt juice produced
To prepare the crab apple jelly recipe
- Place the rose hips in a stainless steel saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, put on the lid and simmer gently until reduced to a pulp. This will take a long time and can be done in advance. You can mash the hips with a potato masher as they soften to speed up the process. Top up the water if there is any evaporation. (Note: do not use an aluminium saucepan as the delicate acids including vitamin C will be lost)
- Cut the crab apples into chunks leaving the skin on. Cover with water add the citric acid and boil until pulped.
- Strain both pulps to obtain the juice. The way you do this depends on how you want the end product to look. If you’re a purist and want a perfectly clear product from your crab apple jelly recipe then you will have to run the juice out through muslin overnight being careful not to squeeze the pulp. If on the other hand you want to eat the end product rather than look at it then just sieve the pulp through a normal kitchen sieve and extract the last of the juice by pressing the pulp in the sieve with a potato masher. You can see from the picture which method I use and to be honest I think the cloudy look is quite effective. Also you waste far less juice and you squeeze all of the goodness out of the pulp – it up to you!
- Once you have both juices mixed together, measure how much you have and put them in a stainless saucepan. Add the appropriate quantity of sugar; one and a quarter pounds to every pint of juice. Bring to the boil. Leave on a rolling boil for 5 minutes and then start to test for set. As with any crab apple jelly recipe this one should set with no problems at all. try to boil as little as possible to keep the delicate flavour and colour.
- Scoop off any scum thats formed and pour into sterile jars, seal and leave to cool.
This crab apple jelly recipe is a real treat for the taste buds, but do try and boil it for the minimum time possible once the sugar is added. I know I always bang on about this but the longer you boil it, the more you lose the flavour and the colour. I’d rather have it a bit runny and tasting good, than solid dark brown and tasting just sweet – I can buy that rubbish from the shops!
As far as eating it is concerned; with a nice strong stilton, a good dollop on some real cornish icecream or in place of strawberry jam with a cream tea, this crab apple jelly recipe can’t be beaten!.