One would think that by December, the canning pot should be safely hibernating in the back of some closet, slumbering peacefully, waiting to awaken just in time for harvest next summer. Not in our house. Because we were canning machines this year, we kinda ran out of time when it came to the crabapples. So, we juiced them in this awesome steamer/juicer contraption that we borrowed from our friend, Jen. We froze the juice in the deep freeze, with a promise that when there was time, we’d make it into jelly.
Fast forward five months. Jelly was made two nights ago.
Will has memories of crabapple jelly from his childhood. No jelly since has come close. He’s searching for the elusive spice or ingredient that made his grandmother’s jelly so incredibly delicious. Here’s what we cobbled together from various recipes around the interweb:
- 20 cups juice
- 4 cups white sugar
- 4 cups brown sugar
- 1 tsp group cloves (next time, use whole cloves)
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 2 cups vinegar
- 2 pkgs no-sugar pectin
Make juice (or in our case, thaw juice).
Boil juice, cinnamon, cloves, vinegar and pectin for 5 minutes.
Add sugar. Boil for 30 minutes. Do not walk away. Jelly will boil over and cause a big, sugary burnt mess (see photo below).
Pour jelly into warm jars, leaving 1/4″ head space. Remove bubbles and wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Screw on lids finger tight.
Process in water bath for 10 minutes.
Wake up next morning, anxiously waiting to try crabapple jelly and see if it’s the jelly of your childhood. Be mightily disappointed to find that jelly didn’t set, and what you have is crabapple syrup.
Add more pectin, and re-process.
Wake up next morning, anxiously hoping that jelly has set this time. It has. Have a small celebration. Try it on toast . . . the verdict?
We’re in the ballpark, ladies and gentlemen. Perhaps half the spice next time.