“I beg your pardon?”
“I said…I’m going to Christina’s to pick up a bag of apple cores and peels…”
It’s lucky that my husband knows me well enough to take these sorts of comments in his stride. Christina was making apple pie and I’d asked her to keep the leftover bits and pieces for me. I know it sounds ridiculously frugal, but apple cores and peel make fantastic pectin and I religiously save and freeze the cores from Small Man’s morning and afternoon teas. I’d been at it for a couple of weeks and was accumulating a tidy collection, when Chris mentioned her pie. I arrived with a plate of vanilla kifli and offered to trade for her bag of “compost bits”. No wonder people think I’m strange.
In total, I had a dozen frozen Fuji cores, a full bag of green apple peel and cores from Christina, and the peel and cores from another six Fujis that needed to be eaten (I cooked the pulp into pie filling and stashed it in the freezer). It made the most gorgeous pectin (instructions here), as well as some delicious apple jelly.
Apple jelly is pretty easy to make – it’s what you end up with if you add sugar to your homemade pectin. After I’d let the liquid drain through the calico (without pressing – that’s very important, or you’ll get cloudy jelly), I measured out a litre of the drained apple stock. This was poured into a large saucepan and brought to a boil, then the juice of a lemon and four cups of sugar were added (the ratio is one cup of sugar to each cup of apple stock – sometimes you can get away with a little less, but if there isn’t enough sugar, the jelly might not set).
The pot was brought to a rolling boil until it reached 220F (104.5C) on a candy thermometer. It really doesn’t set until it gets to that temperature, but if you don’t have a thermometer, you can always check if it’s ready by putting a small blob of jelly onto a cold plate to see if it wrinkles. There is always some froth on the top of the liquid as it boils – that’s a good sign that the pectin is setting – just skim it off carefully and discard.
Once it was ready, we poured the hot jelly into sterilised jars and sealed. We boiled the finished jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes, just to make doubly sure they won’t go mouldy.
We ended up with three large jars of pectin and four jars of apple jelly. I took two jars of jelly to Christina’s house – one for her and one for her dad (after all, it was his green apples). Her brother opened the door and looked at me quizzically as I handed him the jars and said…
“This is for Christina – it’s Compost Jelly”.
. . . . .
Edit: I’ve just had an email from a lady who had trouble getting the apple jelly to set. This was the original YouTube video we learnt to make the apple jelly from – I thought it might be useful to link it here: