Apple Jelly

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 apples-photo-d-stewartadding 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)

apples-cooking-photo-d-stewartWash and chop apples into small pieces, including skin and cores, and place in a large pot.

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)

apple-jelly-froth-photo-d-stewartCombine 5 cups apple juice, lemon juice and sugar in a pot and bring to boil over high heat.

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 gel-test-photo-d-stewartspoon 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.

Apple jelly will store in a cool location up to a year without loss of texture or flavor.apple jelly photo d stewart

Lessons learned

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. 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.

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4 thoughts on “Apple Jelly”

  1. Got all the way to 220 F with out any problem, (even had my thermometer to guide me) I thought~ Move the pan off the heat until I could get the hot jars out of the oven to fill them, then put the ladle in the pan. I had a whole pan of solid “Gummy Bears” 🙂
    My fix: Pan back on moderately high heat, added 1 cup of water and 1 cup of lemon juice, use my spoon to cut up the gummy bear type jelly and stirred it until the temp said 220 F. Ladle the jelly immediately into the jars and into the hot water bath to boil for 10 minutes. (Too many dogs in the way!)
    Lovely, clear, soft jell. Will try in the morning on toast. Named this batch Citrus Apple like it is suppose to be that way. Biggest error: Read the instructions and then forgot to add 6 cups of water. I had used 100% apple juice. Got 4 beautiful jars for my trouble and you can clearly taste the apple and the citrus above the sugar.

    1. Glad you fixed it, Linda. When mine went solid, I wondered about adding water and reheating. Didn’t know if it would work so instead we had one jar of very gummy jelly to eat before we could move on to the good stuff. Now I know to try that if it happens again. And I like the labeling idea – make it sound as if you’d planned it all along! Apple and lemon are good together, so I think you’ve hit on a great idea.

  2. On my list to make tomorrow along with jars of apple pie filling.. Thanks for the hints They will save me a few burnt batches or too thin batches going through the learning curve. 😉

    1. I’m sure your jelly will turn out beautifully, Linda. Just watch out for the gelling point. The picture in my post is actually when it’s gone too far. I was busy taking pictures instead of getting it off the burner! Turned out to be the best one for showing it sheeting on the spoon though. I’ve been making apple crisp too. The dogs and cats love it. They start to swarm as soon as they smell it! 🙂

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