Crab apple jelly

    11 hours 10 min

    This is a traditional family recipe given to me by my mother. For as long as I can remember, this crab apple jelly was always a feature of our autumn preserve making and has given family and friends much joy over the years. We have always used crab apples for this recipe, as these apples are an excellent source of pectin and perfect in achieving a good set and clarity.


    Hampshire, England, UK
    410 people made this

    Makes: 6 (340g) jars apple jelly

    • 2.7kg crab apples
    • juice and zest of 2 lemons
    • 2 to 2.5 litres water
    • 1.5 to 2kg preserving sugar

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:3hr  ›  Extra time:8hr  ›  Ready in:11hr10min 

    1. Wash the apples and remove any bruises. Cut the apples into thick wedges but do not peel or core them.
    2. In a large preserving pan, combine the apples, lemon juice and zest and water. Ensure that there is just enough water to cover the apples, and add more than specified above if necessary.
    3. Over a medium to high heat, bring the contents of the pan to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer slowly for 2 to 3 hours until the apples are soft and pulpy.
    4. Place the apple mixture into a jelly bag and suspend over a clean preserving pan. Allow to drip overnight.
    5. The next day, weigh the juice and add an equal weight of preserving sugar. Bring to the boil and begin testing for a setting point by placing a drop of the jelly onto a cold plate. If it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready. Skim if necessary.
    6. Pour into sterilised jars and cover with a lid. Place undisturbed in a dark location for 2 days.


    Sweet apples will not work well in this recipe as they do not contain enough pectin to achieve a good set. The rule I went by as a little girl was that if a fruit was too sour to eat, it would probably make a good jam or jelly!

    How to sterilise jars

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    Reviews in English (3)


    The recipe works well and I've also added rowan berries to some batches, which worked well too. Tweaks that helped were sterilising jars and their lids in a dishwasher and best of all, using a three-tier steam juice extractor. That works quickly and well and avoids the need to hang muslin bags of oozing goo overnight, meaning we can get the job done in a day. Spoons kept in the fridge or freezer to check the set are also helpful. But the best tweak is the steamer juice extractor. They are easily found on-line and revolutionise jam, juice and jelly making. It's going well as I write and as we've probably another 12 kg of crab apples on the best tree, it's going to be busy.  -  30 Sep 2017


    I got about 3 and a half lbs of jelly from 5 lbs of wild green crab apples. It set well after 20 mins and is clear and pink. The flavour is fine. I'd recommend this recipe, but do weigh the apples down with a plate when adding the water, as suggested by the above commenter, as apples float!  -  19 Sep 2017


    Easy recipe to follow. Put a plate on top of the apples to add the water (otherwise they float and you will end up with too much water!) I used 750g of fruit and water in the ratio as per the recipe and it made 2 normal size jam jars The one thing I would say is it tastes really sweet like proper jam as oppose to something to have with meat. But thinking about it redcurrant jelly is probably just as sweet so prob OK. Took about 20 mins to get to the correct setting point and I had to skim it a couple of times to get rid of impurities but it came out very clear.  -  27 Sep 2016