Last week my sister-in-law Steph helped me pick crab apples off a tree on the property. I like picking fruit. We filled three pails but couldn’t reach anymore so we stopped. Then we spent like two hours chopping up one bucket worth into quarters before cooking them in water to soften them.
We wanted jelly.
So we got the cheesecloth and a colander and pots and proceeded to extract the (delicious smelling) juice. The recipe called for about two pitchers full of sugar, but it was just wrong to put that much sugar into the already yummy juice, so we halved it. Just one pitcher full. Ugh.
That was probably our downfall because we boiled it and boiled it and called dad to see what was wrong, but it never sheeted off the spoon like it showed on the internet. We bottled it up anyway hoping it would set when it cooled.
But they sure do look pretty! They all sealed too.
Mom came up to help me the next day. I had to empty all our hard work back into the pot to boil again. I added another 2 cups of sugar (ugh) and two boxes of pectin, even though crab apples are supposed to have plenty.
We boiled it some more. It never sheeted. We bottled it anyway.
The most annoying thing was that even though my gorgeous jelly didn’t set, the leftover juice in the cup we used to fill the jars with did. It was yummy on toast.
I guess I’ll have a nice stash of syrup for the winter.
Now today I got the latest issue of Countryside magazine in the mail, and there’s an article about using crab apples to make jelly, juice and applesauce (which is my next project. Gotta use up the other two pails). Now I want to try making jelly again. I guess I’ll just have to add an enormous amount of sugar like the recipe says this time and see what happens. Disgusting.
I’ll let you know if it works.