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
- dolgo crabapples
- white granulated sugar
- 2 straight-sided pots
- jelly bag
- candy thermometer
- jars, with lids and collars
- 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.
- Remove the pot from the stove and gently mash each crabapple with a fork. Let the mash stand for fifteen minutes.
- 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.
- Measure the strained juice. For every 600 mL juice, weigh out 400 g granulated sugar.
- Combine the juice and sugar in a pot fitted with a candy thermometer. Boil vigorously until the mixture reaches 218°F.
- Immediately transfer to sterilized jars and process.
- 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.