Sunday, 4 September 2011

Crab Apple and Chilli Jelly

This recipe is one of my girlfriend's favourites.  I never really 'got' blue cheeses until just recently - I blame it on a saturday job when I was a teenager working at the deli counter of a super market and selling many varieties of blue cheese, all of which seemed to smell horrible and upset my delicate constitution.  On reflection, my constitution was probably delicate due to the copious amounts of beer I used to drink on a Friday evening before starting work first thing on a Saturday morning.

Anyway, once I discovered my love of blue cheese (current favorites - Yorkshire Blue and Smelly Apeth) I couldn't get enough of them.  I used them in cooking, but the best and most simple way of eating them is with crackers and Crab Apple and Chilli Jelly.  Oh, and some decent red wine and possibly a bowl of olives.

It just so happened that when we moved into our new flat, there was a Crab Apple tree growing in the car park, which was quickly stripped of its fruit, and then found their way into the jam pan to be made into this sweet golden jelly, with just a hint of chili heat.

Crab Apples can be found growing wild all over the place - they look like little apples and have a bitter taste.  As always, check before you eat!

2kg Crab Apples
1.5l Water
Sugar (Depends on the amount of juice, but about 1.5kg)
6 Chillies

Wash the Crab Apples and then chop roughly, then put in a large pan with the water and bring to the boil and simmer until the apples are cooked to a pulp.

Once this is done, transfer the pulp to a muslin bag and strain.  This is best done by suspending the bag from a cupboard handle or chair, with a bowl underneath.

Don't squeeze the bag! This makes the jelly cloudy because it lets starch from apples squeeze out, and you don't want it to spoil the clear finshed jelly.

When most of the liquid should has collected in the bowl (ours was left hanging overnight), you will be left with a rather nice rose pink liquid.  Put this into a measuring jug to check the quantity and then return it to your pan.  Now add the same amount of sugar as you have liquid - our apples produced 1.4l of liquid, so we added 1.4kg of sugar - and put the pan back on the heat.

At this point, add the chillies - finely chopped - to the pan and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, until it starts to set. You will also want to skim the foam off the top of the jelly when it's cooking, or it will set into an unpleasant skin once the jelly is in the jars.  You might need to do this a few times during the cooking.

As usual, you can check this by putting a saucer in the fridge to chill.  Drop a teaspoonful of jelly onto the saucer.  Let it cool.  If you can push a jellied trail through it with you fingernail, it’s ready.  Transfer the jelly to sterilized jars and store in a cool dry place.

The jelly goes great with cooked meats or cheese and crackers!


  1. Those jars look such a wonderful color, will have to try this!

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