Saturday, October 12, 2013

Crab Apple Jelly

When I finished up at the farmer's market today I came home with about 6 or 7 pounds of Crab Apples.  I thought I would try out my steam juicer.
Here's a photo of the one I have.

 Before jumping into making jelly, I decided to show you how the steam juicer works.

the Juicer comes in several parts. 
The base has a heavy bottom that you fill 3/4 full with water when you are ready to juice your fruit.

The center pot collects the juice as it drips from the fruit

The top section is the strainer where you put your fruit.

Once your top basket is filled with fruit you put on the lid and bring the kettle to a boil.  Reduce heat to maintain a slow steady boil and start your timer.  My apples will take 60 minutes.  The juice will drain to the center pot and when ready you drain it off into jars for canning or another pot if you are going to use it right then.

Now here is what I did to make my juice and then my jelly.

First I washed my crabapples in lukewarm water.

I dumped them into the strainer and put on the lid.

I turned the heat on high and got my water boiling.  Once it was boiling I turned the heat down a little and set my timer for 60 minutes.  I set an extra pot on my barstool and when the juice was ready to drain from the middle pan I could release the clamp and drain the juice into the extra pot to use for making jelly. 

Here's how to prepare Crab Apple juice if you don't have a steam juicer

The following yields 1 1/2 cups of Crabapple juice.
You will need: 1 1/4 lbs (17 medium) crabapples and 1 cup + 2 Tbsp water.
  1. Wash; remove stem and blossom ends; do not peel or core. Cut into chunks.
  2. Combine fruit chunks and water in a saucepan. Cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Crush and simmer additional 5 minutes.
  3. Strain mixture through dampened jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth to extract juice. Let juice drip, undisturbed, for 2 to 4 hours. Note: Squeezing the jelly bag may cause jelly to be cloudy.

Ingredients needed to make Crab Apple Jelly
Yields 6 half pints jars (with a little left over)

4 1/2 cups of juice
5 cups of white sugar
1 box regular Pectin or 6 tbsp of Ball Classic Pectin 
A pat of butter (optional, to reduce foaming)

If you don't want to use added pectin, then just mix equal amounts of  juice and sugar in a stainless steel pot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Stir constantly until the jelly sheets from a spoon.  I'm always in a hurry and don't use this method.  I add pectin to mine because it's quick and I'm sure to get a good jelly that sets up well.

If using pectin
  • Combine prepared juice in an 8-quart stainless steel pot.
  • Gradually stir in pectin.
  • Add butter, if using.
  • Bring mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, over high heat, stirring constantly.
  • Add entire measure of sugar, stirring to dissolve.
  • Return mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  • Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.

    For either method
  • Ladle hot jelly into clean, hot sterile jars. 
  • Leave 1/4 inch headspace.
  • Wipe rims of jars with a paper towel dipped in white vinegar to clean and ensure a good seal.
  • Put on lids and rings and tighten down finger tight.
  • Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. 
  • Turn off heat, Remove lid and wait 5 minutes before taking jars out of canner.
  • Remove jars from canner and place on counter to cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
  •  Clean and store jars in a cool, dark place.

If you live at a higher altitude.  Adjust your processing time.

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