Follow this step-by-step guide on how to make delicious apple jelly at home in just five easy steps!
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Apple jelly is a type of fruit preserve that is made by boiling down apples with sugar and water. The resulting thick, syrupy mixture is then strained to remove any bits of fruit or pulp, and the clear liquid is spooned into jars and sealed. Apple jelly has a deep red color and a tart, sweet flavor that makes it perfect for spreading on toast or using as a glaze for meats.
While apple jelly is typically made with red apples, you can use any type of apple that you like. If you want a more intense flavor, try using granny smith apples. For a milder taste, use Golden Delicious apples. And for a sweeter jelly, use Honeycrisp apples.
Making apple jelly is easy, and it only takes about 30 minutes to make a batch. Follow the steps below and you’ll be an expert in no time!
Step One: Sanitize your jars, lids, and rings
The first step to making any jelly, whether it’s apple or another type, is to sanitize your jars. You’ll need enough jars to bottle all of your finished product, plus a few extra in case of breakage. You’ll also need lids and rings for each jar.
You can sanitize your jars in a dishwasher set on the sanitize cycle, or you can do it manually. To do it manually, wash the jars, lids, and rings in hot soapy water. Rinse well and then submerge the jars in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove them with tongs or a jar lifter and set them upside down on a clean towel to drain and dry.
Step Two: Prepare your fruit
Wash your apples thoroughly and then cut them into small pieces. You can leave the skin on or take it off, depending on your preference. If you’re leaving the skin on, you’ll need to add about 1/2 cup of water for each pound of apples to help soften them during cooking.
Step Three: Cook the fruit
Put the apples in a large pot with enough water to just cover them. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer for 30 minutes, or until the apples are soft.
Step Four: strain the fruit
Once the apples are soft, use a food mill or food strainer to remove any pieces of skin or seeds. If you don’t have either of those devices, you can use a cheesecloth-lined colander to strain out the larger pieces and then use a spoon to press the smaller pieces through the cheesecloth.
Step Five: make the jelly! Add the sugar and lemon juice
Step Two: Prepare the apples
If you are using a food processor, quarter the apples, discarding the cores. If you are using a blender, cut the apples into smaller pieces, discarding the cores. Zest and juice the lemon, setting aside both. Place the apple quarters (or smaller pieces) into a large pot along with the sugar, water, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Stir gently to combine.
Place the pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and falling apart. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and cloves. Using a potato masher or immersion blender, mash or blend the apples until they are completely broken down (you should have about 5 cups of mashed apples).
Step Three: Cook the apples
In a large pot, combine the apples and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and the sugar is dissolved. This should take about 15 minutes.
Step Four: Strain the apples
After the apples have cooked and been mashed, it’s time to strain them. Place a colander or strainer over a large bowl, and pour the apples into the colander. Use a spoon or spatula to press the apples against the strainer, extracting as much juice as possible. Discard the apple pulp that is left in the strainer.
Step Five: Add sugar and spices
After the apples have cooked down and the liquid has been strained, it’s time to add sugar and spices. Depending on your taste, you can add anywhere from 1-3 cups of sugar. You can also add cinnamon, nutmeg, or any other spices you like. Give everything a good stir and let it cook for another minute or two.
Step Six: Boil the jelly
Boil the jelly for about 10 minutes, or until it reachessetting point.To test for setting point, remove the pan from the heat and spoon a little of the jelly onto a cold saucer.
Leave it for a minute, then push your finger through it. If it wrinkles up and crinkles around the edge, it’s ready. If not, return it to the heat and boil for another couple of minutes before testing again. Once it reaches setting point, take the pan off the heat and leave to cool slightly.
Step Seven: Fill the jars
Now that your jars are sterilized and your lids are warmed, it’s time to fill them with your apple jelly. Be sure to leave about ½ an inch of headspace at the top of each jar.
If you’re using a canning funnel, simply ladle the jelly into the jars, being careful not to spill. If you don’t have a canning funnel, you can carefully pour the jelly into each jar, again being careful not to spill.
Once all of your jars are filled, use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe the rims of each jar. This will remove any sticking jelly which could prevent a good seal.
Step Eight: Process the jars
Pour the hot apple jelly into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner for 5 minutes, adjusting for altitude.