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Member recipe

Crab apple jelly

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(10 ratings)

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Serves 1 - 6 Jars

Use the crab apples from the garden - they're not readily available commercially - to make this delicious recipe

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  • 4 kg crab apples
  • 1 kg caster sugar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Makes 6 x 500ml jars - or use these proportions.


    1. Wash the apples, removing any bruised fruit. Put in a saucepan, fill with water to just cover the apples.
    2. Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is soft (about 30 minutes).
    3. Pour the pulp into a jelly bag or several layers of muslin and let drip overnight into a pan. Do NOT squeeze the bag or it will make the juice cloudy.
    4. The next day, measure the juice, and add sugar in the ratio of 10 parts juice to 7 of sugar. Add some lemon juice, then bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
    5. Keep at a rolling boil for 40 minutes, skimming off the froth. To test the set, chill a dessertspoon in the refrigerator.
    6. When the jelly is set, it will solidify on the back of the spoon. Pour into warm, sterilised preserving jars and tightly seal while still slightly warm. Store in a cool dark place.

Comments, questions and tips

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Comments (28)

teresam49's picture

This is the first year I've had my own crabapples. I thought I had plenty of time to spare when the instructions said to boil for 40 minutes - went back to look after 10 minutes, and it was already over set. I've got 3 small usable jars (from 850g of juice), but it doesn't look nice. There's quite a few left on the tree, so if I can get them down - they're very high! - I'll have another go. Perhaps I was so careful not to add too much water that I didn't add enough. But the sugar was based on the amount of liquid, not the weight of fruit.

JoBoJones's picture

I've never used our crab apples before but tried this recipe with only 1kg of crab apples (ie quartered the recipe) and it worked really well. Beautiful clear jelly and lovely taste. I will make some more with chilli next time... or maybe rose hips. Looking forward to eating it with the turkey at Christmas.

Jod880's picture

Made this with 4kg of apples I had to pass it through the Jelly bag in 2 lots and I then passed the whole lot through again to get a really clear juice. I used the ratio of 10:7 It did take a lot longer than 40 mins to get a set (about 1.30hr) however the taste is delicious! I added a couple of very finely chopped chilli's, with the seeds removed, in the final boiling and it has given it the most amazing kick!

StevenBennet's picture

Crab apple jelly recipe is great very simple taste was tremulous



cotic-soul's picture

Good recipe, made lovely clear crab apple jelly. My apples were the tiny little ones, the size of cherries so I left the stalks on and didn't cut them up, just gave them a good wash and it was fine.

Wol's picture

I found that a litre of the strained juice weighed about 1.2kg, so added 0.85kg sugar per litre of juice. The liquid, which had been cloudy, rapidly became transparent, throwing a scum to the surface which I have removed. It does seem to take a long time to reach a setting point, however, so probably I either need to add more sugar or try to use less water initially?

harrypitt's picture

I now have a very thick very dark syrup. Couldn't get it to set and boiled for a very long time.I reckon I used too much water. Recipe should state exactly how much water to use. The recipe says to just cover the crab apples with water. This is impossible as the apples float! Next time I'll use the recipe in the Women's Institute book
Harry Pitt

Wol's picture

Hold the apples down with a plate or similar before adding the water. (But remove it before you start cooking!)

jocouchman's picture

I didn't care if the jelly was cloudy, and was in a hurry, so I *squeezed* all the juice out as hard as I could in 10 minutes, instead of overnight. And the jelly is barely cloudy at all. A bit hazy, but still looks gorgeous.. and I got twice the amount of jelly given in the recipe. So visual perfection cuts the yield in half. And I have a feeling that the scum disperses naturally if you don't remove it. And if it's for personal consumption, what does it matter if it has bubbles on top?

Gilliebm's picture

I gather there are loads of crab apples around at the moment. I was taught that if you had a lot of Scum when boiling jam/jelly to add a little butter and it reduces it a lot and it does work. Also have added Rosemary and mint to the Crab apple jelly and that is delicious with meat.

Arkdove's picture

Just made a batch of this from 4 Kgs of fruit (destalked and halved to avoid any bruising) and had 4 litres of juice strained overnight in some old net curtains. I only added 2 Kgs of jam sugar (so I didn't bother with the lemon juice) and had to rolling boil for 1.5 hours to get a set. There was so much scum (not what I was expecting!) which I removed every 15 minutes whilst boiling. I got seven good-sized jars of lovely, dark rose-coloured clear jelly with a slight sharpness as I didn't want it to be over-sweet. One thing I learned is that it's difficult to do farmhouse cooking in a terraced house kitchen with only 3 square feet of worktop to work on!! I have very large pans but I think I'll be doing my next batch at the neighbours' whilst they are away on holiday (with their permission of course).

tastetest's picture

I'm delighted with the results of this recipe. It was my first time making crab apple jelly and it turned out very well. I couldn't use 4 kg of apples as they just wouldn't fit in my pressure cooker (that's the biggest pot I have) so I halved the recipe and it turned out great. It's tricky to skim off the froth before putting them in jars. The resulting jelly is lovely and tart. Just right I think. I made three and a half pots from 2 kg of apples.

dragonglass's picture

Great recipe - I agree you need to check the water amount you boil the fruit in - as little as required to cover them - seeing that they float! However, strained overnight through a good old linen napkin the juice was quite clear. We have a weeping crab apple tree which has red apples - sometimes they look like tiny Starking apples! We just wash an pull off the stems, otherwise they are small enough to cook whole. Cooked them in the pressure cooker to a mushy pulp before straining - nice pink pulp!
Boiled the juice with the sugar - (was probably a bit too much as our water amount threw out the calculations a little! ) This first batch - as there are many more apples on the tree - we did with a good cup or so of chopped mint to make mint jelly. This is great to have in the fridge for those times whan you need mint for lamb and there is none in the garden! It looks good too as the jelly stays pink with the green mint flecks in it! Super!

jeancawthorne's picture

I left all the stalks and skin on as i too used small apples. They don't get in to the juice so it is ok to do this. I am boiling my jam now. Can't wait to taste it

wagstaff's picture

I have just been given an enormous box of crab apples. Do I have to take all the stems off, and they are so tiny do I really have to cut them up?Please help!

wagstaff's picture

I have just been given an enormous box of crab apples. Do I have to take all the stems off, and they are so tiny do I really have to cut them up?Please help!

wagstaff's picture

I have just been given an enormous box of crab apples. Do I have to take all the stems off, and they are so tiny do I really have to cut them up?Please help!

princessannie's picture

This Crab Apple Jelly was easily made but I think there may have been an error in the sugar quantities. I added 3kg of sugar for 5kg of apples. However, the result was delicious and a beautiful clear pink colour, which was amazing as I used yellow crab apples!

elsiemayvyse123's picture

Crab Apple Jelly will keep very well in the pantry/ cupboard, a cool, dark place preferred. I have kept it up 1 Year, I make a batch each year and traditionly, as my parents and grandparents have, use it with roast chicken / turkey instead of red current and cranberry jelly which I would have to buy. I also find my granchildren love it on toast.

waddafeelin's picture

Could anyone tell me how long would the Crab Apple jelly keep for, and pantry or refrigerated?

Thanks in advance :)


Questions (1)

triangle's picture

I've made the apple jelly and it looks great but it has not set properly even thought I've left it boiling longer than the 40 minutes. Is there anything I can do to rescue it ? Thanks

Tips (5)

Joesher's picture

Tips from a lazy jam maker.Tried this with some cider apples. They were quite acid so I left out the lemon juice. The apples turned to a pulp after about 15 minutes cooking. Having no jelly bag I pressed the pulp through a sieve, which gave a slightly but not excessively cloudy jelly - this is not a problem for me since most other jams (plum, strawberry etc) are not clear.
Other tips. Don't scrape the scum off - it tastes good when set! Don't sterilise the jars. Just pour the jam/jelly into them as soon as it comes off the boil. The hot jam sterilises them.
Excellent result.

Wol's picture

I made a large batch of this last year and it was/is delicious as it is. However, I added it to strawberry jam this summer and can thoroughly reccomend this. It means that you can cut down/delete powdered pectin in your jam recipe and the crab apples give an astringency to the strawberry jam which takes it into a different sphere of flavour altogether.

I added the CAJ at the rate of about 1 to 4 with the strawberry jam.

Gilliebm's picture

When making Jam/jelly that has a lot of Scum add some butter, not a lot but it really reduces it. also mint or Rosemary is great in crab apple jelly.

Gilliebm's picture

When making Jam/jelly that has a lot of Scum add some butter, not a lot but it really reduces it. also mint or Rosemary is great in crab apple jelly.

Gilliebm's picture

When making Jam/jelly that has a lot of Scum add some butter, not a lot but it really reduces it. also mint or Rosemary is great in crab apple jelly.