Sunday, November 6, 2011

Apple Jelly

I remember as a young girl sitting in my great-grandmother’s little tiny kitchen in her little tiny house in Spokane, Washington watching her crank out the most wonderful meals.  Her home was so cozy and practical and I think that is when I began my love affair with little cozy homes and all things practical. 

One of the things that impressed me was how she used everything, nothing went to waste.  Every time she made an apple pie she would put the cores and peels in a saucepan on the back burner of her stove and stew them.  Then use that “broth” to make a jar of apple jelly.  My great grandfather ate jelly on his toast every morning so I am sure she made quite a bit to keep him supplied and I don’t ever remember seeing a jar of store bought in her refrigerator. 

When I made applesauce a few weeks ago I stewed my peels and cores as I mentioned before in an earlier post.  After straining it I was left with a pretty pink juice.  I froze the juice because I didn’t have time to make jelly and last Saturday I thawed it and made her jelly.  I don’t find apple jelly as flavorful as other jams and jellies I make but it is still pretty good and I can see where it is versatile enough to add other juices and flavors to amp it up if you wanted to. 

She always worked in small batches and she always kept things simple, which must be where I get it from.  I guess that apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, no pun intended. 

Making the jelly is pretty simple.  First put a saucer in the freezer.  Next bring 2 cups rendered apple broth to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in 2 cups sugar and bring to a boil.  Continue to boil until the temperature reaches 220° on a candy thermometer.  Drop a dab of jelly on the frozen saucer and with your finger gently “push” it.  If the jelly wrinkles you are done.  If not, continue boiling and testing it until you it does.  Pour into sterilized half-pint jars top with lids and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. 

I put a couple drops of red food coloring in my juice like my great-grandmother did because she liked her jelly to look pretty.  Each batch makes 2½ jars so I usually make two batches and then process all five jars at once. 

I will be adding my remaining leftover apple broth to cranberries this month to make homemade cranberry sauce or jam, if you will, for Thanksgiving.  I can only imagine how good that is going to taste on a homemade roll. 

I also think adding a ¼ cup of red hot candies to the jelly would make a great tasting cinnamon apple jelly.  I haven’t tried it yet but I am thinking I might. 

Do you have any wonderful great-grandma stories you’d like to share?

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