Keeping the Harvest – Apple Jelly
The next method we will explore in our “Keeping the Harvest” series is another fantastic way to preserve Ambrosia apples: Apple Jelly.
Apple Jelly is a delightful fruit preserve made from the juice of apples. It has a smooth, spreadable texture and a sweet, fruity flavour. You can enjoy apple jelly by spreading it on toast, biscuits, scones, or even using it as a filling for pastries and cakes. Apple Jelly can even add a lovely touch when used as a glaze for meats or incorporated into savoury dishes.
The history of apple jelly can be traced back to ancient times when people started cultivating apples. However, we don’t have precise details about its origins and development. Fast forward to the 19th century, when things got interesting; that’s when canning and other food preservation methods were revolutionized, making the production and availability of apple jelly much easier. Canning allows for longer shelf life and makes it simpler to distribute jellies and other preserves.
Following the instructions below, you can preserve your Ambrosia apples with this Apple Jelly recipe!
Ambrosia apple jelly
- 4 pounds of Ambrosia apples
- 4 cups of granulated sugar
- 1 lemon
- Large pot
- Cheesecloth or jelly bag
- Canning jars with lids
- Canning tongs
- Start by preparing the apples. Wash thoroughly and remove the stems and blossom ends. Cut the apples into quarters or smaller pieces, leaving the skin and core intact since they contain natural pectin, which helps the jelly set.
- Grab a large pot and place the apple pieces in it. Cover them with water, and squeeze the juice of a lemon into the pot. The lemon juice helps preserve the colour of the apples. Bring the pot to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat and let it simmer until the apples become soft and mushy. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Once the apples are cooked, strain them through a cheesecloth or jelly bag. Hang the bag over a large bowl and let the juice drip for several hours or overnight. Avoid squeezing or pressing the bag too much, as it might make the jelly cloudy.
- Measure the collected juice and transfer it to a clean pot. For every cup of juice, add 1 cup of granulated sugar. Give it a good stir to dissolve the sugar.
- Now it’s time to cook the jelly. Place the pot with the juice and sugar mixture over medium-high heat. Stir constantly and bring it to a rolling boil. Keep boiling until the jelly reaches your desired consistency. You can check if it’s set by performing a gel test. (Simply place a small amount of jelly on a chilled plate and push it with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s good to go!) This process usually takes around 15-20 minutes.
- While the jelly cooks, you might notice foam forming on the surface. Simply skim off any foam using a spoon or a skimmer. While the jelly is still hot, carefully ladle it into sterilized canning jars, leaving a 1/4 inch of headspace. Make sure to wipe the jar rims clean, place the lids on top, and screw on the bands firmly but not too tight.
- Time to process and seal the jars. Use canning tongs to place the filled jars into a boiling water bath canner or a large pot. Ensure the jars are fully submerged, with about 1-2 inches of water covering them. Let the jars process in boiling water for approximately 10 minutes to ensure a proper seal.
- After processing, remove the jars from the canner with care and place them on a clean towel. Let them cool undisturbed for several hours. As they cool, you might hear the lids popping, indicating a proper seal. Once completely cooled, store the jars in a cool, dark place.
What is your favourite way to enjoy Ambrosia Apple Jelly? Share your posts online and tag us and you may be featured in our next newsletter! Use the hashtags #Ambrosiaapples #AmbrosiaTestKitchen