Of all of the preserves I made last season, crab apple jelly was one of my favourites. I love the beautiful jewel colour of the jelly, and the tartness of it is just perfect on my tongue. We have a crab apple tree in our front yard and in all the 25 years I have lived there, it never occurred to me to harvest those apples and cook them up. Last year, my daughter and I were shopping at the farmers' market by our cottage and they had baskets of beautiful crab apples. We looked at each other and said, why didn't we think of that?
These days I spend most of my summer away from home so I'm not there for the harvest time, but I'm hoping to get my son and daughter to do it and then bring them up to me so I can do the jelly again this year. The tree was absolutely covered with unripened fruit when I left, so I should be able to make lots of jelly this year.
My cottage neighbour told me that her mother used to make jellies out of all kinds of berries that she foraged around here. Instead of using a jelly bag, she had an old white cotton pillowcase that she used year after year, dyed with the colours of all the fruits she had used over the years. I believe my grandmother did the same thing making grape jelly.
Make sure you follow the instructions for the gel stage test that follows the recipe, otherwise you will have crab apple soup.
This recipe is from Canadian Living, July 2008
|6 lb||crab apples|
|4‑1/2 cups||granulated sugar|
Gel Stage Test: