Monday, 25 June 2012

The Underappreciated Crabapple

Summer is starting to set in and the canning in our house is beginning to ramp up. My latest project has been crabapple jelly. While they used to be a household staple, I think crabapples are rather under appreciated these days, so I thought would share my crabapple reverie with you.

We are very lucky to have a crabapple tree in our backyard and even though we haven't given it the best of care it still provides us with plenty of crabapples for canning. As you can see from the picture above, we don't treat them with anything so they aren't very pretty. Luckily, crabapple jelly doesn't require them to be pretty.

The only thing necessary to prepare them for processing is washing them and removing the stems and blossom ends. Since the cooked mixture, including seeds and cores, will be strained out and a great deal of pectin, which helps the jelly gel, is found in the cores, you wouldn't want to remove the cores anyhow.

Once the mixture is cooked down it has to be strained through cheesecloth. I used a strainer lined with cheesecloth and held up with kebab skewers over a large bowl to collect the juice. The important thing in this step is to make sure, tempting though it may be, that you don't squish the cooked apples and release the apple mush into the juice thus causing your jelly to be cloudy.

After cooking the juice down with sugar and pectin the jars are filled and processed for 10 minutes in a water bath canner. And then voila! Beautiful jars of crabapple jelly!

So, if you find you or your neighbors find yourself being pelted in the head or tripping over crabapples why not put them to good use and try this old fashioned delight!

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