Mid August to mid September is the best time for picking crab apples. Gather at least 5kg of crab apples from the ground under the tree and from the branches. Try to get a good mix of windfall apples and slightly greener ones from the branches.
Wash and then chop the apples making sure to retain the stems, skin and seeds. Place in a large pot with a vanilla pod and a cinnamon stick.
Add enough water to just cover the apples. Cook until the apples are soft. Add a handful of blackberries at this stage if you would like your jelly to be pink.
Place in a sterilized piece of muslin and rest this bundle in a colander suspended over a pot. Leave overnight to collect the maximum amount of juice in a large pan. Do not squeeze the bag or you will have cloudy jelly!
The next day heat the juice over a moderate to high heat, stirring constantly and once boiling add 1kg of jam sugar for every 24 fluid ounces of juice.Return to the boil for approximately 1 minute or until setting point is reached.
Pour into sterilised jars (I re-use sauce, mayo, pesto and other condiment jars and then discard them after they have been used once for jam), wipe tops and cover with lids.
Place in a boiling water bath for at least 10 minutes. Remove and cool slowly overnight covered with a tea towel.
The jar lids should be sunken in the centre by the next morning. If there is a stubborn one that wont seal, place it in the fridge and eat within 4 weeks. The sealed jars will keep for at least a year maybe longer but ours never last that long.
Your finished product will look like this! Isn't it pretty?
Crab apple jelly is yummy and we like to eat it on toast and porridge, as flavouring in home made ice cream, over store bought ice cream, pancakes, on muesli, over wheatabix and mixed in yogurt. If you think of any other ways to enjoy this jelly then please leave a comment below this post.