Monday, February 7, 2011

Crabapple Jelly

It's a Crab - Apple... get it?
I have been particularly lazy of late.  I don't have any good excuses for my laziness, so I won't give any.  But I did draw a silly picture for you all... Well, I drew the apple part... the limbs were taken off another picture (when I realized that I couldn't remember what crab legs looked like).

Today, I will relate the events that occurred a few months ago when the trees were bearing fruit, and I happened to be listening to quite a bit of British literature, such as P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster and Jane Austen Novels adapted for radio.  Within those stories, I heard how frugal people would pick fruit from the trees and preserve it for the winter months when fresh fruit was hard to find.  While considering this, I was walking to pick up the mail from our box at our apartment and I began to wonder what kind of fruit trees were in our complex.

I picked one of the globular pinkish fruits and a couple leaves and took them back to my apartment.  I searched on the internet to find a description that matched the fruit I had found.

I discovered that apples are the only fruit with seeds in a star pattern.  They are related to roses and also have serrated leaves.  I compared my samples with the descriptions and discovered that I had several crab apple trees in perfect readiness for harvest.  Crab apples do have an apple-like taste and smell, but are generally a more tart.

So I harvested them.  I made Husband go out with me and hold a bag while I pulled the small apples off the higher branches (using a step ladder, of course).  I brought them home, and washed them thoroughly.  Once they were well washed, I cut them up and boiled them in water.  I squeezed them through a cheesecloth and then used that juice to make crab apple jelly.

The first try I got it into my head that I might not have to use pectin, because after doing a little reading, pectin apparently comes from apples, and other relatives.  However, I must have done something wrong (or my apples just didn't have enough pectin) because the jelly didn't set.  So I boiled it all over again, added pectin this time, and got a quite nice jelly in my re-sterilized jars.

Here's the recipe:


Crab Apple Jelly

Crab Apples (about 8 cups?)
1 box Pectin
3 cups sugar

If starting with whole fruit:
Remove stems and leaves.  Cut crab apples in half (or quarters if you have large crab apples) and put them in a large pot.  Pour in enough water to almost cover the apples, but not to make them float.

Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium.  Let cook until the apples change color and are soft.  (You can also use a juicer, if you have one)  Let it cool, then strain the apple mash through a few layers of cheesecloth... you may need to squeeze the juice out.

Measure about 4 cups of juice and put in a pot with 1 box of pectin.  Bring to a boil, then add 3 cups of sugar.  Bring back to a boil and boil for at least 1 minute.

Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" space at the top.  Put on lids and process in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Remove jars from water bath and let cool, being sure the lids seal and the jelly has set.  Keep in a cool dark place, and these should last for at least a year.



That's it for the recipe.  I must admit that every time I hear "Crab Apples" I think of some sort of strange crab with the body of an apple... then I stumbled across this picture:

and I'm glad that my imagination lines up so well with other people's.

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