Apple, calvados and rosemary jelly

Apple, calvados and rosemary jelly
  • Serves icon Makes about 2.75 litres
  • Time icon Hands-on time 40 min, simmering time up to 2 hours, plus draining

An autumnal jelly recipe that is well worth the wait, packed with sweet-sharp apples, aromatic rosemary and a kick of calvados- this jelly makes a great gift.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
28kcals
Fat
0.1g (no saturated)
Protein
0.2g
Carbohydrates
4g (4g sugars)
Fibre
0.2g
Calories
28kcals
Fat
0.1g (no saturated)
Protein
0.2g
Carbohydrates
4g (4g sugars)
Fibre
0.2g

Ingredients

  • 3kg cox apples (or similar British seasonal apples)
  • 2kg bramley cooking apples
  • About 2-2.5kg granulated sugar
  • 150ml calvados or cider brandy
  • 100ml cognac (or an extra 100ml calvados/cider brandy)
  • 4 large fresh rosemary sprigs, plus extra to decorate
  • 5 lemons

You’ll also need…

  • Strong string
  • About 4-6 jelly bags or some squares of muslin or 4-6 J-cloths
  • Enough sterilised jam jars for up to 3 litres jelly
  • Sugar thermometer or digital probe thermometer
  • Broom handle or clothes horse (see step 3)

Method

  1. Roughly chop all the apples (including the cores as they’re high in pectin, which helps the jelly set). Put in a large deep pan or preserving pan and add enough water to come halfway up the fruit. Boil until the apples are soft and pulpy – about 1 hour. Stir only minimally (this helps to ensure a clear jelly).
  2. Put 4-6 (more if smaller) jelly bags, clean J-cloths or large pieces of muslin in separate large bowls. Using a ladle, scoop the fruit pulp into each bag/the middle of each cloth. Tie up the bags/bring the corners together, then secure with elastic bands or string.
  3. Attach a 20-30cm length of string to the neck of each jelly bag/pouch, then use a broom handle or clothes horse to suspend them over the bowls to catch the dripping liquid. Allow at least 15cm between the bags and the bottom of the bowls. Let the bags/pouches drain overnight (don’t be tempted to squeeze the bags as it will make the jelly cloudy).
  4. When they’ve stopped dripping, weigh the juice on accurate scales. You should have about 3kg (3 litres) in total. Measure out 700g sugar per kg/litre juice. Pour the juice into a clean, very large saucepan or preserving pan (if you don’t have a large pan, you may need to use 2 pans as the jam will bubble a lot).
  5. Put 2 saucers in the freezer. Add the sugar, alcohol, rosemary and the juice of 5 lemons to the pan(s). Heat very gently until the sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat and boil rapidly. Scoop off any scum that collects on top, then keep boiling, checking with the thermometer from time to time, until the temperature of the liquid reaches 106°C (this should be the setting point). This will take at least 20 minutes but can take up to 1 hour in a large preserving pan. Remove the pan from the heat each time you check the temperature, so you don’t accidentally take it too far. To confirm the jelly has reached setting point, take a saucer out of the freezer and spoon a few drops of jelly onto it. Once cool, see if it sets or wrinkles when you push a finger through it. If it doesn’t, boil the jelly a little longer until it hits 107°C.
  6. When setting point has been reached, pour the jelly into sterilised jars (see Know-how). Dip the extra rosemary in boiling water for a few seconds, then dry and snip into small sprigs. Add 1-2 to each jar and seal while the jelly is still hot. Cool, then store in a cool dark cupboard.

delicious. tips

  1. This is great for using up windfall apples. Add a few under ripe apples if you have any, for sharpness and extra pectin.

  2. The jelly will keep for up to 2 years if sealed and stored in a cool dark place. Once open, keep in the fridge.

  3. To sterilise jars, wash in hot soapy water, rinse, then dry in a very low oven for 10 minutes. Or run jars through the hottest cycle in a clean dishwasher.

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