Crabapple Jelly

A pot of Dolgo crabapples, ready to be made into jellyCrabapple is my favourite jelly, hands down.  The perfect balance of tart and sweet.  A distinct, local flavour sitting in the pantry all year.

The following recipe works well for the Dolgo crabapples we get from Lisa’s dad’s backyard.  I imagine there is huge variation in sweetness, acidity, and pectin content in crabapples across the region, so I can’t say for certain if this will work for you.  But it’s a good base recipe.

For the record, I don’t core the apples.  I don’t even stem them.  I remove leaves, if I find it convenient.  I mash with a fork and strain through a jelly-bag, so the seeds and stems don’t end up in the jelly.  Pressing cider with Kevin has made me a lot more relaxed about things like that.

For a detailed description of the chemistry of jellies, and why we do what we do to make jellies, see Jelly Primer.

Dolgo Crabapple Jelly

Ingredients

  • dolgo crabapples
  • water
  • white granulated sugar

Equipment

  • 2 straight-sided pots
  • fork
  • jelly bag
  • candy thermometer
  • jars, with lids and collars

Procedure

  1. Put the crab apples in a pot.  Add water until the fruit is just, just covered.  Bring to a rapid boil and cook until the apples are tender.  I tender to use super-ripe apples, many of which are windfalls, so they are tender after only three minutes of boiling!  Don’t overcook the fruit.
  2. Remove the pot from the stove and gently mash each crabapple with a fork.  Let the mash stand for fifteen minutes.
  3. Pout into a jelly-bag fastened over a large pot and let the mash drip.  Preferably over night, but a couple hours will work fine.
  4. Measure the strained juice.  For every 600 mL juice, weigh out 400 g granulated sugar.
  5. Combine the juice and sugar in a pot fitted with a candy thermometer.  Boil vigorously until the mixture reaches 218°F.
  6. Immediately transfer to sterilized jars and process.

Suggested Uses

  • A good spread on toast.  This seems like a no-brainer to me, but Lisa insists that the Jolly Rancher-like tart-and-sweet flavour of the dolgo is inappropriate at breakfast.  I’ll let you decide for yourself.
  • Whisk crabapple jelly, then a bit of butter, into a stock reduction as a sauce to accompany game.
  • Inject into freshly fried doughnuts.
  • Use it as a component in one of my favourite condiments, onion jam.
  • Spread onto sponge cake to make jelly rolls, or in between sheets of pound cake for layer cake.
A crystal-clear jar of Dolgo crabapple jelly.
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