Friday, 15 September 2017

crab apple is my new quince







After many years of walking past a crab apple tree laden with fruit every September I worked up the courage to knock on the owners doors to ask if I could pick some. Turns out I know the family living in this house and they were more than happy for me to take as many crab apples as I wanted. I filled two dog poo bags to the brim. The bags by the way were new and not perfumed. I also stole a few crab apples from a different tree. These were rounder and redder. I ate one of each variety because I had no idea what crab apples might taste like. They both tasted the same - a little too tart for raw eating. I was thinking to play a prank on the little ones and put a crab apple in their snack bag but I didn't.

I decided to make jelly. I washed the crab apples, chopped them roughly and popped them in a large pan, then I added water until the fruit was just covered. For good measure I threw a handful of rosehips in the mix. I gently boiled the fruit until it was really really soft but not completely disintegrated. Many years ago I bought a strainer with a muslin that can be attached to top of a saucepan. This is a nifty gadget - once a year. I let the juice drip into the pan over night, then measured the total amount (1.5 litres). For each 600 ml I added 450 grams of sugar. This seems like an odd way of figuring out how much sugar is needed but I guess the numbers come from the old imperial measures, pint and pound. Plain sugar is good, crab apples are rich in pectin. I think it is always a good idea to dissolve the sugar on a low heat so it doesn't burn. Once dissolved, I brought the syrup to a rapid boil. On that note, why is it called a rapid boil? I stayed nearby to prevent sticky disasters. I am not very scientific when I make jam or jelly, never use a thermometer to test for set. I do test for set on a cold plate but I don't think this works very well. I have made jelly that was literally a rubber ball because when I tested for set it didn't. To be honest, I only do it so I get to lick the plate. My method is vague to say the least: I check how the syrup behaves when it is running of the back of a spoon. If it is sluggish, I call it a day. For this particular jelly it was roughly 30 minutes of rapid boiling.

I sterilised the jam jars and lids in the oven. Again, not not in a very scientific way, just hot a for a reasonably long period of time. I think it may have been 200 degrees centigrade for not quite an hour. When I pour the jelly in the jars, I screw the lid on tightly and pop them upside down. I don't why, it is a habit of mine. I usually check if the lid is sealed. I never had any spoilt jam and I assume my method works fine. I know some jam makers use a canning pot to sterilise the potted jam for a second time but I think this is overkill (literally).

The jelly has a beautiful wobble, I am really pleased. I have a confession to make. Today I invited a friend for coffee and scones mid morning. I made plenty of scones and I ate them all. With jelly. At the time of writing (5 pm), I have eaten nothing but scones with crab apple jelly. I am not joking. I will pick an apple from our tree for a my daily vitamin intake, promise.

The flavour is delicate and quite similar to quince jelly but the fragrance is different. Good enough for me. I miss my little quince tree, which had to make way for builders skips and building materials last year. Now I have a suitable substitution, my not quite neighbours crab apple tree. I'll bring them a jar next time I walk past their house.

It is the weekend! I need to do some housework and we have two birthday parties and one camping planning meeting (local vernacular for 'partying with friends'). Have a lovely weekend! xx



17 comments:

  1. Those scones look delicious, very moreish as does the jelly. I can see why it would be difficult to resist.

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  2. The jelly looks delicious. My aunt had a crab apple tree. My mom would never let us eat any, but like most kids we did anyway. We also ate her wild pears.

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  3. The colour is absolutely gorgeous. Crab apples are fantastic trees, great for wildlife and pretty too, and crab apple jelly to be had too. Love your triangular scones, I am definitely doing mine that shape next time. A day eating just scones and jam (and I think I would add clotted cream...) is pretty much my perfect day. Happy sigh. Have a lovely weekend Christina. CJ xx

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  4. What lovely colours, beautiful. When I make cheese scones, the particular book I use - Be-Ro Recipes, it says to roll the dough mix into a circle, I put it on a stone based pizza circle and then cut into 8 segments. It just reminded me when I saw yours, love scones. Cx

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  5. It looks so pretty. Haven't made crab apple jelly in years. A friend showed me how to do it, but I remember nothing. Use to make peach jam for
    Mac, I'm not fond of anything sweet in the morning, just give me black coffee and buttered toast.

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  6. I'm having trouble lately with photos not loading on Blogger blogs for me, I have no idea why. I did see one or two of yours, including the finished jelly, though, and it's beautiful! I love the color and I can tell from here that it's properly wobbly. :)

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  7. Wow that looks delicious. Haven't made crab apple jelly either, so it's time I did. I can't blame you only eating scones and jelly all day. Yum. Have a good planning meeting ;). B x

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  8. Never made it, never eaten it, but it looks very enticing. Especially atop a freshly baked scone. Hope you get through your weekend list.

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  9. I agree with you on the plate method it is too severe. I do have a thermometer I was given as a birthday present which is handy. I made some crab apple jelly a few years back and put various springs of herbs into it and the rosemary one was particularly good with lamb. Good work lady! Jo x

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  10. Christina, this post made me smile. I love that you, the scientist, are not scientific in your jelly making. And I think it is terrific that you put those crab apples to good use, since it sounds like they would have been wasted otherwise. So much free fruit goes unused - I think most people are almost afraid to pick wild apples because they aren't as perfect as in the grocery store. Its like if they aren't grown in an orchard, they aren't edible. Just last night my husband picked 4 gallons of apples from trees in front of a business park. They were completely loaded with decent apples, so we will turn them into cider. And don't worry about your scone diet - you got plenty of vitamins from your crab apple jelly!

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  11. Scones - yum. Well done on the jam, I made some a couple of weeks ago and it's like concrete. Most annoying.
    Hope you have a lovely weekend,
    Jill

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  12. Bravo on your (we call it jelly) making. It looks gorgeous and I imagine it was divine on those warm fresh scones. Good for you! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  13. Well, those scones did look delicious, I'd probably have eaten them all too!

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  14. Looks delicious - love the colour. I saw lovely rose hips on cycle path today when dog walking and considered picking them to make rosehip syrup.

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  15. Looks delicately delicious and eating scones with crab apple jelly all day sounds pretty good! If you collect another bag of crab apples, try making Sweet Spiced Crab Apples, which are divine with cold meats.

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  16. This did make me smile... so far I have eaten nothing but cheese scones today and I'd just thought about having an apple to redress the balance a bit. Lovely looking jelly!

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  17. Quite a creative and, as it turned out from your post, use of crab apples. The scone looked very inviting especially with the newly-made jelly. I have never tried quince jelly, but have read about it on several blogs.

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