Find out how to make crab apple jelly using crab apples found in the wild. It is a delicious with roast pork or just on its own with bread.
Wild crab apple trees can often be found hidden in hedgerows. In the spring you will noticed the gorgeous blooms of pinky-white blossom. By late summer and early Autumn these have become fruit.
Smaller and more bitter than a regular apple, crab apples are often overlooked. They are great for cooking with and make a delicious jelly which will brighten up your Autumn. You can also make wine or cider with them or roast them to serve with meat.
Read more: How to make apple chutney
We have a number of crab apple trees that grow in the fields near us. Recently they have been building houses on the fields but luckily some of the crab apple trees are still there and we were able to gather lots of apples to make the jelly.
The main difference between apples and crab apples is their size. Crab apples tend to be less than 2 inches whilst apples are much bigger.
The crab apple tree can become gnarled and twisted which gives the tree a crab like appearance which its name might come from.I prefer to think its because the fruit is so small it can make you crabby if you have to peel loads. The fruit is also quite tart so the name might also be due to the taste.
In folklore the crab apple tree is often referred to as the Tree of Love. There are many rituals associated with it. One of these is to throw the apple pips into the fire whilst saying the name of your true love. If the pip explodes the love is true.
Crab apple jelly is really easy to make. If you haven’t made jelly before this is a good recipe to start with as very little can go wrong.
Cut any bad bits out of the apples and put them into a pan of water. The water should just cover the apples. You can leave the stalks but remove any leaves.
Bring to a boil and simmer until the apples are soft and broken up. This will take about thirty five to forty minutes. Let the pulp cool and pour into a jelly bag. Leave overnight until the juice stops dripping.
You should be left with a clear juice. Add this to a pan with sugar and the juice of one lemon. Bring to the boil and simmer until it reaches 105.5 C or the jelly sets when put on the back of a spoon.
You can vary the recipe to suit the amount of crab apples you have. Once you have strained them through the jelly bag you need 70g sugar for each 100g juice.
Crab apple jelly is the perfect accompaniment to roast pork. It is also lovely with sandwiches or on bread or toast on its own.
This is usually because you have poked the jelly bag while it was dripping and some of the pulp has come through. Just let it drip.
Crab apples are high in pectin so it should set really easily. You can use granulated or caster sugar.
Usually not very long as it is so tasty it gets eaten quickly. If the jar has been sterilised properly the crab apple jelly can last a couple of years in a cool dark place. Once the jar is open use it within three months.
Have you ever made crab apple jelly? Let me know below
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