Making apple jelly is like making any other fruit jelly except you don’t need to add pectin. Apples have loads of pectin. When I started making jams and jellies and was much more conscientious about not adding additives, I added a few apples to any fruit for the pectin. Then I got lazy and started using commercial pectin.
But in this year’s apple jelly making, I found a recipe that reminded me that you don’t need to add pectin to pectin-filled apples. And it’s easy. Basically, just add sugar and lemon juice to the apple juice and boil until it gels. (My notes are added.)
Apple Jelly (Mick Telkamp, HGTV)
Yield: About 6 half-pints (I got 4)
5 pounds apples (about 16 cups chopped)
6 cups water (to extract 5 cups apple juice)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 cups sugar (I used 3 cups)
Add 6 cups of water to the pot and bring to boil over high heat.
Reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes until apples are soft.
Pour into jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined colander over a bowl to separate juice. Allow to drain without pressing or forcing juice from the apples for the clearest jelly. (Leave several hours or overnight)
Continue to boil until a temperature of 220 degrees F is reached. (25-30 mins)
Test jelly by dipping in a cold spoon. If the jelly drips from the spoon in a sheet, jelly is ready. If not, allow to cook a little longer and test again. (Watch it and you’ll see the colour deepen. Also when stirring, the resistance on the spoon increases slightly.)
Once the jelly thickens, transfer it into sterilized half-pint jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.
Cap with lids and bands and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes to seal.
A couple of lessons I learned in my first two times using this recipe. First, when you’re near the gelling point, check it every minute or so. I let it cook another five minutes after seeing it was almost gelling. Too long. I got one jar of jelly solid enough to make gummy bears.
Second, keep stirring. And use a pot with high sides. In my second batch, I left it unattended for a minute too long. I had it in a Dutch oven that I thought was plenty big enough. And it was – as long as I kept stirring the froth down. But left alone, it started frothing higher and higher. I couldn’t get it stirred down fast enough. So, a huge mess on the stove.
Learn from my mistakes and you’ll have delicious jelly, easily made.
See also my making apple juice. It’s exactly the same except you don’t gel the juice.