- Remove stems and blossom ends from crabapples, and cut into quarters. Place them in a large stainless steel or other non-reactive pot or saucepan. Add enough water to be able to see, but no so much that the crabapples are floating. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. The apples should soften and change color.
- Strain the apples and juice through 2 or 3 layers of cheese cloth. You should have at least 4 cups of juice. Discard pulp, and pour the juice back into the pan. Bring to a simmer, and let cook for 10 minutes. Skim off any foam that comes to the top. Next, stir in the sugar until completely dissolved. Continue cooking at a low boil until the temperature reaches 220 to 222 degrees F (108 to 110 C). Remove from heat.
- Pour the jelly into sterile small decorative jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a hot water bath to seal.
- 1 basket crab apples
- Cheesecloth muslin or old (clean) cotton pillow case, for draining fruit
- 2-3 cups White sugar
- Clean jars
Prepare your apples by washing, removing the stems and cutting off the blossom ends. You can leave whole or cut in half. If your apples come from a wild tree (ie. not sprayed), you may want to cut in half to make sure the inside is good. That’s what I did.
Place prepared apples into a large stock pot and add water, just until it just peeks through the top of the apples (if any of your apples are floating, you’ve got too much). Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, without stirring, until apples are softened, 10-15 minutes.
While fruit is simmering, place a large colander over a bowl and line with tripled-up cheesecloth, a piece of muslin or a cotton pillow case.
When fruit is tender, pour into prepared colander and leave to drain for 2-3 hours. RESIST THE URGE TO POKE, PRESS OR SQUEEZE the pulp to get more juice. It will make for a cloudy jelly. Just let gravity do it’s work and discard the pulp when draining stops.
Measure out the amount of juice and make note of how many cups of juice you have (I got 3 cups of juice out of this basket of apples). Add the juice to a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring, for about 20 minutes, skimming off any foam, as necessary.
Meanwhile, measure out sugar. You’ll need 3/4 cup of sugar for every cup of apple juice that you had. (So if you had 4 cups of juice, you’ll need 3 cups of sugar). Place the sugar in a stainless steel or oven-proof bowl (or on a baking sheet, alternately) and pop into a 300° oven anywhere from 5-15 minutes, stirring it around a couple of times (time in the oven will vary depending on how much sugar/oven etc., so WATCH CLOSELY. It should be hot to the touch, but not so hot it starts to melt around the edges.).
When sugar is hot, remove from oven. Remove pot with apple juice from the heat. Stir in the hot sugar just until it is dissolved. Place the pot back on the heat and WITHOUT STIRRING, boil for 5-8 minutes, until jelly reaches 220° on a thermometer or passes the cold plate test*.
Ladle jelly into clean jars and leave with lids off until almost cool (without moving jars around). When jelly is almost cool, seal with lids. Let stand in a sunny window, undisturbed for 24 hrs. Wax and store.