Every fall, the kids and I go to our local orchard and pick a bushel of apples together. I love making apple pie and apple jelly. Inspired by my son, Gabe, who can't live without it. Don't be afraid to make this...I have some tried and true tricks that will make this easy and not to mention, the aromas of apples, cinnamon and cloves, will fill your home and will be a fall memory year-after-year.
5-10 lbs. of apples
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup whole cloves
8 cups water
large bowl that can hold your strainer
8 cups sugar
6-7 pint size jars with their lids
Clean your jars with warm/hot water and place on a cookie sheet and put in the oven on 200 degrees to keep warm until ready to fill.
Picking your apples ensure the freshest apples. Start by washing your apples thoroughly, cutting and quartering (cores, peels and all) your apples and filling a large roasting pan. It does not matter how much you put in. I just fill it up.
Do this in the evening because your apples are going to slowly render overnight and cook down leaving your juice you will need to make your jelly.
Place 2 cinnamon sticks and 1/4 cup of whole cloves into your roaster along with the water and put the lid on. Put in a preheated 200 degree oven overnight. Oh the smells you will smell! Waking up to this is almost as wonderful as the jelly itself.
This is what it will look like in the morning when you take it out of your oven. Place your strainer in your large bowl in your sink. Put your cheesecloth (enough for a fair amount of overhang) over your large strainer and carefully pour your apple mixture into the strainer. Lightly gather the cheesecloth overhang and squeeze. Not too much because it will make your juice cloudy. Let rest for a couple hours until all juice in rendered.
Now it's time for boiling the juice that was extracted from your apples. Only boil 6 cups of juice at a time. You can either save remaining juice in your fridge in an airtight container for a couple days or in your freezer for a couple months if you don't want to make more than the 6 cups.
Bring your 6 cups of juice up to a boil. You will need 1 cup of sugar per 1 cup of juice. So 6 cups of sugar at a time. Incorporate your pectin powder within your sugar. When just beginning to boil, pour in your sugar/pectin and with a whisk, stir until fully dissolved. Let come to a full, rolling boil, the kind that does not go away when stirred. Boil for about 6-10 minutes until you pass the *jelled* test.
After about 6-8 minutes, turn down the heat and get beneath the foam with a large stainless steel spoon. Let it fall of the spoon and watch for the last drops to hang from the spoon and when 2 drops come together to form one drop that hangs off. Then you know you've reached it. Turn off the heat.
You are ready to pour into your warmed jars with a funnel and large stainless steel spoon. Slowly pour your jelly into jars, leaving a little room up at the top. Put on the lids and screw top rings. I learned this trick from a wonderful older lady who had been making jams and jellies for years: simply turn your jelly jars (use a towel, it's hot) over onto their tops to seal the lid. Leave for a couple hours until cooled.
Flip over the jars, when cooled and you've got some apple jelly that is sealed to store, give and/or enjoy! This apple jelly has hints of cinnamon and clove and you will even see beautiful flecks of the clove in your jelly. It's wonderful!
*note...if you find that your jelly did not set, you can pour your juice back into your pot and reboil until foamy for another 5 minutes and test again. With the use of the pectin, you shouldn't have this problem, but you may and only takes another try. Remember you will need to lids if you want to seal these for storage.
I have made jelly for years without the use of pectin and have been successful, but it is much more difficult and not worth it to me. This method is almost fail proof.*
Your family and friends will love this jelly. I hope I have inspired you to make it a new fall tradition. From the apple picking to the jelly...it's a memorable time in the kitchen.
Labels: apple jelly