making apple jelly jam


So I had all these apples… I stewed up one of the two boxes into my first "canned" apple sauce. Made in Ball Mason jars bought online, process boiled in my big stock pot. They're on the shelf in the pantry and still look mould-free although my deep, deep fear of botulism will mean we crack them open sooner rather than later. 

That other box just sat around and sat around on the floor of the pantry.

I'd look at them every day and feel guilty about them aging on my floor, all that work in a box. You know? 

Then on Sunday, my sister Naomi, inherently a girl of action, peeled and cored the entire box for me (less five which wouldn't actually fit in the stock pot) using our addictive apple slinky machine (one of these.)

I really wanted to try making apple jelly. It's not big in Australia. I've read a bit about it, and I recently saw it for sale at the Berry Sourdough Cafe, but I've never tried it and alway wanted to. 




It was a bit of an epic. 

I followed this recipe. LOVE David Lebovitz. 

Except after boiling it for over half an hour it was still not setting. At all. I was trying to figure out what to do with a few litres of apple syrup. I persisted, poured it all into sterilised jars and left it for a few hours, blindly hoping it'd set. It didn't.

So in the middle of making lunch for visitors, I poured it all back into the pot, washed and sterilized the jars again, and left it boiling until it had reduced by a third. THEN it set. 

And OH MY GOODNESS the JAM! It's an apply autumny burst of flavour. Light. Sweet. Glorious. 

I used brandy as the liquor, but added in the first round so I'm guessing it was completely cooked out. 




Afterwards, Mum said she thought something like apple jam would need the pectin in the skins of the apple to set. She said she's never made jam but has been around a lot of jam makers. I re-read the recipe. Supposed to have used the skins! And seeds! Oh well. Next time I have a cheap box of apples at my disposal I'll try this again. 

Meanwhile we have jars of the stuff! And homemade wholemeal, sunflower seed and chia bread.


Simple and YUM. 

And a testament that even after all this time I am still incapable of following a recipe properly.

You? Are you a recipe follower or a recipe general-sense-gatherer? A forget-the-recipe-lets-wing-it cook? Or are you I-LAUGH-in-the-face-of-recipes-ah-ha-ha-haaaaa? 

Fruit skin. Kinda essential. Bet the proper stuff tastes even better.


P.S. My latest favourite bread recipe is this River Cottage one, I make half volumes (500g flour at a time), two thirds bakers flour, one third wholemeal. I love it with a shake of sunflower seeds and black chia seeds. 

16 Comments on “making apple jelly jam

Penny Hannah
July 31, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Those jars of jelly look gorgeous – what a wonderful colour. Nice to know that next time you don’t have to do the peely bit too. I’m now contemplating imaginary scones with apple jelly and clotted cream. Eat some for me…

Bee Girl (AKA Melissa)
August 1, 2012 at 12:12 am

This looks delicious! And I love that I am not alone in being a “recipe general-sense-gatherer”. More often than not, I skim a recipe and then forget something…like yesterday I totally skipped the first step in the tomato basil jam recipe I was making (mix the tomatoes and sugar and let sit for an hour, so the tomatoes can release their juices)! I just threw it together and put it on the stove. Ah well…it took a bit longer to cook down, but the jam came out beautifully anyway 🙂

August 1, 2012 at 5:36 am

I made blueberry muffins last week and did not realize the sugar was omitted until we tasted them. Yuck! The dogs were very happy to receive muffins for breakfast that day!
The jam looks yummy! My husband adores apple jam (very southern USA thing)…I might I need to make a patch myself!

August 1, 2012 at 7:00 am

ooooh, yum.

norma keyte
August 1, 2012 at 9:27 am

oohh! yumbo, your jam looks so lovely…my Mum here in Australia used to make crab apple jelly which was yum ….the apples came from old orchards, dont know if there is such a thing around any more,i used to treasure the jar i was given!

August 1, 2012 at 9:37 am

I can’t quite decide if it’s arrogance or stupidity that leads me to change every single recipe I have ever used, maybe both! I made the appple jelly last year with the seeds and skins and still had trouble with it setting. Yours looks fab.

August 1, 2012 at 6:03 pm

That jelly/jam looks absolutely gorgeous. I have fallen into that recipe trap a few times now, I start from memory, or I’m just too excited to get started and then suddenly it all falls in a heap. Well done on salvaging them though, that’s the true test of a cook.

August 1, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Yum i’m totally making this. I’m a recipe glancer. Quick look, figure yeh i get the idea and plough ahead. I have a 80/20 success rate lol

Erica Demiri
August 1, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Yum – I love fruit jelly. Haven’t tried apple jelly, my friend makes quince jelly.

Have you seen the book – 5 minute microwave bottling? I have ordered a copy, it sounds great for bottling and makes sure it lasts!

Alex Nolan
August 3, 2012 at 7:11 am

I love making jam and jelly and chutney!!

Some tips that you might like.. The cores and skins of the apples can be put in a muslin bag so that when bobbing around the pot can be easily removed. Also, at this stage of first boiling (second boiling to get the jelly stage) if you add a few long sprigs of mint (I suppose about 4 lengths, each of 6 inches) to this and at the time of removing your muslin bag, you remove this too, then, when you are almost ready to jar your jelly, add about 4 tablespoons of chopped (finely) fresh mint, voila you have apple and mint jelly, to serve with lamb. Really delicious!

Oh, and when you have sterilised your jars, you are potting your jam/jelly/chutney, screw on the lid tightly, and tip upside down, the heat of the contents will sterilise the lid, therefore eliminating your fear of botulism.. Hopefully.

Hope that helps (you probably knew all that stuff already!)


August 3, 2012 at 7:18 am

I dont know anything so all advice gratefully received! Thanks xx

August 3, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I second the apple and mint version. Or apple and rosemary, apple and sage, apple and tarragon, apple and chilli…you get the idea! The one that took longest to get eaten was apple and chive. OK in cooking, but probably won’t repeat that one. Apple and chilli is great in sandwiches or with sausages (and you can make it as hot as you want).
And if you get the jelly making bug, (red) plum and rosemary is delicious with beef. You can add them to stews, gravy or use the plain version to glaze fruit tarts or dilute to make cordial or sorbet. Rose Prince talks about it here-

Being English, I don’t leave my jars upside down to seal, but I do either put the lids in the oven with jars or pour boiling water over them before putting them on the jam.
I’m with you with being slightly scared of my own home canned fruit, but nobody’s got botulism from homemade jam. And jam makers across the UK are still putting those cellophane covers on their jam, not even metal lids! I think it’s all the sugar.

August 5, 2012 at 11:10 am

Had to give this one a try. But after cooking the lot (whole apple, thanks for the pectin advice) and only using the cooking liquid there was still so much apple. Can’t trow that out! Pressed through a sieve and you have apple sauce, the ingredient you need for: perfect granola also on the Lebovitz website. I’ve put the remaining apple sauce measured out in cups in the freezer to be able to make more of this jummie treat.

After having seen many remarks on botulism and the fear of canning, I’ve done some googling, yes it’s serious. But…
110 cases (not deaths) of botulism occur in the US, mostly from infants eating honey or corn syrup. Against 360 people in the US get struck by lighting…
I think this calculated against a population of 311 million people your chances are pretty good, sterilising jars and putting them through a canning bath should keep you very safe.

August 5, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Ball Mason jars… I’ve been umming and ahhing about whether to buy some… They’ll last forever but the price here in Austrakia is so high…

Thoughts on how they are going for you??

August 6, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Yep i had to run off and make this, along with syrup, sauce and cheese…..

Margaret Fullarton
October 9, 2013 at 8:00 am

I laughed as much with the comments as the original work- who would have thought there were so many of us “careless” cooks out there!


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