Delia Smith Inspired Crab Apple Jelly: A Homely Recipe with a Gourmet Twist

Crab apple jelly, a delightful preserve, holds a special place in my culinary adventures. It’s a recipe that I’ve refined over time, inspired by the stunning array of fruit jellies I’ve seen at farmers’ markets and food fairs. There’s something magical about the way these jellies catch the light, showcasing their vibrant colors and capturing the essence of the fruit. So, here’s my take on making crab apple jelly, infused with my own experiences and twists.

How To Make Delia Smith Inspired Crab Apple Jelly Recipe Overview

My crab apple jelly recipe is a simple yet delightful way to preserve the essence of these tart little fruits. The process takes a bit of time, but it’s mostly hands-off, and the result is worth every minute. Expect to spend about 3-4 hours from start to finish, with the actual cooking time being around 2 hours. This recipe yields approximately 6-7 pounds of jelly, perfect for sharing with friends or savoring over time.

The key here is to use fresh crab apples, complemented by ordinary sugar and your choice of flavourings – I often experiment with chilli, sage, or garlic for an intriguing twist. You’ll also need some muslin or a jelly bag for straining and some jars for storing your jelly.

Ingredients of Crab Apple Jelly Recipe Delia Smith

  • Crab apples: Enough to fill a large, 30cm diameter pan. This typically yields about 6-7 pounds of jelly.
  • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar, no need for any added pectin.
  • Flavor enhancers: Options like chili, sage, garlic, or anything else that sparks your creativity.
  • Other essentials: Muslin cloth or a jelly bag for straining; jars for storing the jelly.

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Apples: Wash the crab apples thoroughly. Cut them into quarters without peeling or coring, as the seeds add natural pectin.
  2. Cooking: Place the apples in a large pan and add enough water to just cover them. Bring to a boil and simmer until the apples become soft and mushy (about 30-45 minutes).
  3. Straining: Set up the muslin or jelly bag over a large bowl. Pour the cooked apples and liquid into the bag and let it drip overnight. Do not squeeze the bag, as this can make the jelly cloudy.
  4. Measuring and Boiling: Measure the juice. For every cup of juice, add 3/4 cup of sugar. Pour the juice and sugar into a clean pan and boil rapidly until the jelly reaches the setting point (about 10-15 minutes). To test, drop a little jelly on a cold plate; if it wrinkles when pushed, it’s ready.
  5. Jarring: Pour the hot jelly into sterilized jars, seal, and label.

Also Read: Apple Chutney Delia Smith Recipe

Recipe Tips for Perfect Crab Apple Jelly

Selecting Apples: Use firm, slightly underripe crab apples for the best pectin levels, which help in setting the jelly.

Preparation: Rinse the apples well. There’s no need to peel or core them, as the skin and seeds contain natural pectin.

Cooking: Simmer the apples until they are completely soft. This helps extract maximum flavor and pectin.

Straining: Allow the juice to strain through a jelly bag or muslin cloth overnight. Avoid squeezing the bag to prevent cloudy jelly.

Sugar Ratio: Maintain a good balance between the juice and sugar – typically 3/4 cup of sugar for every cup of juice. This ensures proper setting and sweetness.

Testing the Set: Use the cold plate test or a candy thermometer to check if the jelly has reached the setting point (105°C or 220°F).

Jar Sterilization: Sterilize jars and lids in boiling water for 10 minutes or in a hot oven. This prevents contamination and extends shelf life.

Filling Jars: Fill the jars while the jelly and jars are still hot to ensure a good seal.

Storage: Store in a cool, dark place. Once opened, refrigerate and use within a month.

Experiment with Flavors: Feel free to add herbs or spices for a unique twist. Try infusing the jelly with rosemary, cinnamon, or even a hint of chili.

Skimming Foam: If foam forms on the surface during boiling, skim it off for a clearer jelly.

Patience: Good jelly takes time. Don’t rush the cooking and straining processes.

Labeling: Always label your jars with the date of canning. This helps in tracking shelf life.

Cleanup: Clean any spills immediately, as jelly can be sticky and hard to clean once set.

Remember, making jelly is as much an art as it is a science. Don’t be disheartened if your first batch isn’t perfect. Practice and patience will lead to delicious results!

Nutritional Value (per tablespoon)

Calories: Approximately 50

Carbohydrates: 13g

Sugars: 12g

Sodium: Negligible

Fat: 0g

Protein: 0g

FAQs

How can I tell if the jelly has reached the right setting point?

To check if your jelly has been set, try the plate test. Drop a small spoonful of jelly on a cold plate and wait a few seconds. Then push it with your finger. If the jelly wrinkles and doesn’t flow back, it’s set. Alternatively, use a candy thermometer; the jelly is ready when it reaches 105°C (220°F). This method is reliable and takes the guesswork out of judging the setting point.

Can I use a food processor to chop the apples?

Yes, you can use a food processor to chop the apples for jelly, but it’s better to cut them by hand. Quartering them ensures they cook evenly and release the right amount of natural pectin. A food processor might chop them too finely, affecting the texture and clarity of your jelly. So, a bit of manual chopping is the way to go for the best results in your crab apple jelly.

How long does crab apple jelly last?

Crab apple jelly, when made and stored properly, can last quite a while. If you keep it unopened in a cool, dark place, it’s good for up to a year. Once you open a jar, store it in the fridge. In the refrigerator, try to use it within a month. Remember, always check for any signs of spoilage like mold or off smells before using, just to be safe. Homemade jelly’s shelf life depends a lot on how well it’s sealed and stored.

Can I make this jelly with other fruits?

Absolutely, you can make jelly with other fruits using a similar method to the crab apple jelly recipe. Each fruit has its own unique level of natural pectin, so the setting might vary. For fruits with less pectin, like strawberries, you might need to add commercial pectin. The basic steps of cooking, straining, and boiling with sugar remain the same. It’s a fun way to experiment and enjoy different flavors of homemade jelly throughout the year!

Is it necessary to sterilize the jars?

Yes, it’s really important to sterilize the jars before filling them with jelly. Sterilizing helps prevent bacteria growth, ensuring your jelly stays good and safe to eat. You can sterilize jars by boiling them in water for about 10 minutes or using your oven. This extra step is key for keeping your jelly fresh for longer, especially if you plan to store it for months. Always use clean, sterilized jars for the best and safest results in your home canning projects.

Conclusion

Making crab apple jelly is a delightful way to capture the essence of these tart fruits. It’s a recipe that allows for creativity, both in the choice of flavor enhancers and in the joy of the cooking process itself. Enjoy your homemade jelly on toast, with cheese, or as a glaze for meats. Happy cooking!

Delia Smith Crab Apple Jelly Recipe

Delia Smith Crab Apple Jelly Recipe

Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 4 hours
Course Jam & Jelly
Servings 7 pounds
Calories 50 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Crab apples: Enough to fill a large 30cm diameter pan. This typically yields about 6-7 pounds of jelly.
  • Sugar: Regular granulated sugar no need for any added pectin.
  • Flavor enhancers: Options like chili sage, garlic, or anything else that sparks your creativity.
  • Other essentials: Muslin cloth or a jelly bag for straining; jars for storing the jelly.

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the Apples: Wash the crab apples thoroughly. Cut them into quarters without peeling or coring, as the seeds add natural pectin.
  • Cooking: Place the apples in a large pan and add enough water to just cover them. Bring to a boil and simmer until the apples become soft and mushy (about 30-45 minutes).
  • Straining: Set up the muslin or jelly bag over a large bowl. Pour the cooked apples and liquid into the bag and let it drip overnight. Do not squeeze the bag, as this can make the jelly cloudy.
  • Measuring and Boiling: Measure the juice. For every cup of juice, add 3/4 cup of sugar. Pour the juice and sugar into a clean pan and boil rapidly until the jelly reaches the setting point (about 10-15 minutes). To test, drop a little jelly on a cold plate; if it wrinkles when pushed, it’s ready.
  • Jarring: Pour the hot jelly into sterilized jars, seal, and label.

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