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Saturday, September 19, 2009
A whole bunch of crabapples, with maybe some quinces, hard pears, or normal apples thrown in; at least 4 lbs (but as much as 9) lemons or limes (1 per 4 lb of crabapples) sugar!
Hardware: Big pot jelly bag or fine mesh strainer over large bowl jars
Instructions: Wash the fruit, cut crabapples into quarters, removing any big blemishes and some of the seeds and stems. Cut any other fruit you're using into pieces the same size as your crabapple bits. Throw it all in the pot. Add cold water until the fruit is just covered.
Bring to a boil and simmer until it's all mush (several hours), stirring occasionally and (towards the end) smearing anything that hasn't turned to mush, like pears, against the sides of the pot with your spoon. Pour into your jelly bag or fine strainer suspended above a bowl (ideally a big bowl with measuring marks). Leave for several hours to overnight, until it basically stops dripping.
Start your jars sterilizing. Preheat the oven to 375. Wash your jars and lids in hot soapy water, then rinse in hot water. Don't dry them, but put them on a baking sheet. Once your jelly is boiling in the next step, put the jars in the oven and leave there for at least 10 minutes.
Pour your juice into another big pot, measuring as you do. For every pint of liquid, add 1 lb. granulated sugar. For every 2 pints, add the rind and juice of one lemon or lime. Bring to a boil slowly, stirring well as you do to dissolve the sugar, then boil as rapidly as you can without it rising up and overboiling. Skim off any foam that forms (it looks different than just the boiling liquid). When it has started to thicken (at least 10-20 minutes of good boiling), test it for setting. Put a plate into the fridge for a few minutes, then spoon a little jelly onto the plate. If it wrinkles when pushed with your finger, you're there.
Take the jelly off heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Take your jars out of the oven if you haven't already. Either remove your citrus peel from the jelly or put a little piece of rind in each jar as decoration. Pour the jelly into the jars. Cover with a waxed paper disc, and seal the lids while still hot. Allow to cool for 12-24 hours before labelling and storing in a cool dark place. Good on toast, pork loin, and all sorts of things!
Adapted from "A Year of Family Recipes", by Lesley Wild