Pipe Dream #79: To Be Gellin’ – Crabapple Jelly

So I told you already about the masterpiece wild grape jelly. But I’ve been holding out on you. There was another, equally as divine, equally as Amish-ish.

I picked five pounds of crabapples one autumn night. It was kind of a last-minute picking—the apples had just turned, and I was leaving the area in just two days. But staying up late to make it was so worth it.

In fact, it would have been worth it even if I had only got the above picture out of the deal. Because let’s face it, neither you nor I have ever seen a prettier picture of crabapples in a bucket.

Crabapples are pretty bitter on their own, but never you mind; I added a million grains of sugar to the jelly. I have ceased being offended by the amount of sugar that is in jelly because my mom told me that if you don’t add enough sugar, the jelly won’t gel (jell?) correctly. Me mum is smart.

I was actually significantly worried that this jelly wouldn’t turn out anyway. The recipe called for five pounds of apples and said that it would make 7 cups of juice. That was false. It made about 4 cups of juice. But I had an exhaustion-induced brain slip and ended up halving the sugar and pectin in the recipe. So there I was stirring away frantically for exactly one minute as the recipe says (whatever, no big deal if you go over by five seconds), when I realized I needed to add more sugar and pectin. It wasn’t the right time to add it, but I just threw it all in and prayed that things would work out.

And it did work out. I wasn’t expecting the jelly to be so red (I thought it would be more browny-yellow), but apparently it can range anywhere from deep red to coral. And it tastes like candy apples. So lovely. There were a ton more crabapples that I didn’t pick—even one tree would make gallons of jelly, so I’m sad I didn’t have time to make more.

Get thee picking! (You know, like 8 months from now. Sorry. I’ll be better.)

Gellin’ like Magellan,


Crabapple Jelly

Adapted from food.com

5 pounds crabapples (or more if you want 7 cups of juice)


1 3/4 ounces dry pectin

9 cups sugar

Rinse the apples, and remove the stems and bad spots. Put the apples in a stock pot, add water until just covered, and cook until soft. Some recipes suggested crushing the apples with a potato masher to check for softness. I did it because I thought it would make the juice more potent, but that is kind of one of my unfounded theories.

Strain the apples and juicy water through a jelly bag to make 7 cups of juice. Some folks say let it strain for a couple of hours, others say overnight. I was foolish and tried to squeeze the apples so I didn’t have to wait for it to strain. This might account for the missing juice, and it definitely accounts for my scalded fingers.

Combine juice and pectin in a large kettle. Bring to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture is at a full boil, stir in the sugar completely, and return to a full boil, stirring constantly. Boil for exactly one minute (or 65 seconds, or 55), still stirring.

Remove the pot from the heat and skim the foam from the surface of the juice, then pour into hot, sterilized jars. Seal and process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.



2 Responses to “Pipe Dream #79: To Be Gellin’ – Crabapple Jelly”

  1. 1 SimmerSnow January 9, 2012 at 9:59 am

    This sounds so delicious…Jelly and jam (especially jam) make me go weak in the knees. I didn’t realize crabapples were useful for anything other than throwing!
    I used to make blackberry jam with my Grandma and cousin (how quaint!), but that was as exotic as we ventured.

  2. 2 timer January 9, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    i like your writing and how you smith around with words. Don’t be afraid to invent a few while you’re at it. You never know, someday they may come into usage by the masses. I dont think i tasted this jelly, but if you are making jams and jellies that turn out at your age , you are probably in the one percent or less of your peers population. And to make it right on they first try is unheard of, just ask any jelly-maker over 30. Beyond that, I always enjoy reading what you’re up to in the kitchen, though i hardly respond enough. Your “qualitatschreiben” is impressive and ‘lachen ist gesund!’ Bravissimo!

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