Apple and rosemary jelly…

Apple and Rosemary Jelly is one of, if not the most popular accompaniment to a meal in our house.  It is a recipe that Mumsy started using when we were kids – I remember going out searching for crab apples on country lanes around where we grew up, for use in the jelly.  Over the years the recipe has been refined by Mumsy and it is great.

I have taken jars of the apple and rosemary jelly to every house that I have lived in and it has always been well received.  I was once informed by a friend of mine that it was the most versatile condiment they’d ever tried…  As a family we tend to eat it with pork, chicken, rabbit (really what I am getting at – is it goes very well with white meats) though I have seen people eat it with a ploughman’s lunch or as an accompaniment to cheese.

Up until yesterday I had never made the jelly myself is because throughout the years Mumsy has kept my cupboards so well stocked with apple and rosemary jelly that I have never had the need to do so.  However, yesterday afternoon I made my first attempt.  Under the watchful eye of Mumsy, we headed into the kitchen for a cooking session of industrial proportions.

This recipe requires a jelly bag.  Mumsy and I were discussing alternatives as not everyone has one (me included) and came up with the following options:  use an old tea towel, double up a piece of muslin or cheese cloth.

Apple and Rosemary Jelly

Ingredients:

Stage 1 – before straining:

  • 2.5 kg cooking apples (roughly chopped into small chunks – no need to peel or core)
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 litre cider vinegar

Stage 2 – after straining:

  • To every ½ litre of liquid add 600g sugar
  • 2 good sprigs of Rosemary (sterilized in boiling water)
Stage 3 – once potted up:

  • Small sprig of rosemary for each pot (sterilized in boiling water)

 

Steps:

Stage 1:

  1. Put the apples and water into a large saucepan cover with a lid, place on a low heat and leave to cook, stirring occasionally until the apples are soft and have broken down into an apple sauce consistency.
  2. Then add the vinegar to the pan and simmer for a further 5 minutes, before removing from the heat.
  3. Place all the apple mixture into a jelly bag and strain out the liquid by suspending the bag over a container making sure the hook you use is strong enough to support the weight!  (We tend to leave the mixture to strain overnight).

Stage 2:

  1. Once all the liquid has drained out you will need to measure how much you have so you can calculate how much sugar you will need as per the quantities above.
  2. Place the apple liquid, the rosemary sprigs and roughly ¾ of the sugar in a pan.  Place on a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Then carefully taste the jelly mixture and add more of the sugar that you held back depending on how sweet/bitter the apples were and according to your preferences.
  3. Once you are happy with the flavour, bring the jelly mixture up to a rolling boil.  After about 10 minutes remove the rosemary sprigs.
  4. Continue cooking until you reach setting point.  (Test – by putting a little of the jelly onto a plate, leaving it to cool and see if it sets).
  5. Once the jelly is at setting point, skim off any scum on the jelly and then pot up.

Stage 3:

  1. Before sealing the jars, place a small sprig of rosemary in each pot, pushing it gently under the jelly.

[Note – for some reason this year (probably a result of a very hot summer) our jelly was incredibly sweet and a little anaemic in colour; so we added probably around 150ml more vinegar to our mix and about 2 heaped tablespoons of soft dark brown sugar to improve the colour at stage 2.]

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