Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Apple Jelly

 I checked several different 19th century cookery books for apple jelly recipes, sticking to the 1830's, since the apples came from the Lockhart house at Westfield.  Generally, jelly and jam recipes seem to be similar, in the vein of 1 lb of fruit to 1 lb of sugar or 1 pint of juice to 1 lb of sugar, but a few recipes have slightly less sugar for apple jelly.   The Cooks Own Book (1831) suggests 14 oz of sugar per pint of juice.  That works out to about a 1:1 ratio of sugar to juice.   The recipes also use lemon juice or peel.

I used 3/4 cup of sugar to each cup of juice.   The apples weren't very tart, and I was worried that the extra sugar would be just too sweet, plus modern canning info suggests that is the right amount for less tart apples.

Then they say to cook the apples until soft.   My problem was that the Lockhart apples didn't really get soft. They were hard, hard, hard and then all of a sudden, they were apple sauce, all thick and goopy and trying to burn to the bottom of my pot :(    So when the instructions said to strain off the liquid, there was no liquid to strain.  I think that if I had strained them at the above stage, when the apples were still quite firm, but a few were starting to soften, it would have been perfect.

None the less, I lined several bowls with colanders and cloths on the limited counter space.  I filled them up with the thick, goopy apple sauce and set them to strain.   It took hours.   I had 3 big bowls set up like this one, plus a small mesh strainer over a 4 cup measuring cup.   I had 4 1/2 cups of juice in the fridge before I left them for the night and by the morning I had another cup or so.  

The apple sauce then became breakfast for the chickens.

I used 4 cups of juice.   As there was a bit of sediment on the bottom of my juice container, I just strained off the clear juice and left the not so clear juice behind.   I added the sugar and the lemon juice.   While the waterbath canner was heating up, and my jars warming, I started boiling the jelly mixture. 

It probably took less than 10 minutes for the jam to set up.  I tested a couple of times but I knew when it was done because the mixture suddenly changes slightly.  The bubbling froth is somehow a bit viscous and feels different when you stir it.   I had spoons chilling on a bowl of ice and when dipped in the jelly and set back on the ice to cool, they showed the jelly was set.

I poured the jelly into jars, sealed them and popped them into the hot water canner for 10 minutes.  I figure that getting a good seal and lessening the risk of botulism is worth the time, energy and effort of the few minutes in the canner.

I got only 4 cups of jelly, plus enough to put on some toast for a snack.  It is a lovely, pale amber and quite clear, considering how much I pounded and squeezed those jelly strainers.   Better yet, it is really tasty.  Not in your face flavour like raspberry jelly, but a softer, milder flavour which hints of things autumnal.

4 cups apple juice   ( you could use unsweetened bottled juice too)
3 cups sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon

I think I want to try this again!

I almost tripped over Kevin last night.   Someone  forgot to put the vacuum hose away and since he was a kitten, it's been Kevin's favourite toy.  He still likes to sleep in it if he gets the chance.

1 comment:

Bettina said...

hm, looks yummeh! I tend to cut the apples to pieces, dump them with very little sugar in my steam juicer (the bit of sugar seems to increase the juice amount!)and escape the long stage in the muslin! I just add sugar and boil until set - and I just fill the jars (boiled in water), close them, turn them over for 5 minutes and let them cool right side up again. that is - if there are any apples left on the trees, after another storm we're having just now:( I had planned to pick blackberries this weekend, but the rain is moving in already - no luck yet....