Wednesday, 2 October 2019

Crabapple Harvest

The crabapples have been good this year.
Here is the tree back in early September.
 I decided to try crabapple jelly.
I had to wait for the fruit to ripen. It is difficult to know from the outside whether the apples are ripe.
The test is to cut one in half. If the pips are brown they are ready.
I filled a small basket and had a trial run.

The first batch turned out well so I tried a larger one.
The first job is to take off all the stalks. I started by pulling them off but soon had sore fingers. I ended up cutting them off with a small pair of scissors. 
Seeing as the whole lot would be strained, we wondered if it was necessary to remove them at all but surmised they might change the flavour.
Next I had to cut them all in half.
Thank goodness for my trusty kitchen knife, 
seeing as there were 300.

 Once in the pan, they were covered with water and boiled down to a pulp. It took about 30 minutes.
I used a potato masher to help break them down even more.
The mixture was cooled slightly and then spooned into a jelly bag where I left it overnight.
I refrained from squeezing it which is quite tempting but I wanted clear jelly.
The next day found me up at 7 a.m measuring out two pints of juice. I heated it up and added one and a half times sugar.
The crabapples are full of pectin and before long the jelly was setting in the saucepan as it cooked. This did not take very long.
In the meantime, my jars were being sterilised with boiling water.
I had to scoop scum from the top before I poured it into the hot jars.
I sealed the top with wax discs and put on the lids.
The colour was beautiful.
When the jars were cool enough to touch I cleaned them and added the labels.
Later in the day we sat in the garden room for a welcome cuppa and scones with, of course, crabapple jelly.
The flavour is mild and somewhat delicate but definitely apple.
Because of this, and the pectin content, crabapples can be used to help some jams set, such as strawberry. I have never tried this and I am not sure in what format they are added 
but it might be worth a try. 
I love the flavour and I can`t wait to use it, warmed up on sponge cake with custard.



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