October is ending and if you are like me, you still have plenty of apples in the garage in a box. I didn't even have to go to a pick-um farm because several years ago Kevin gave each of the kids an apple tree and they never had apples before, or maybe enough for a couple of pies, but this year with plenty of care and spraying they really produced. In fact the limbs had to have support.
Michelle made a dozen pies, plain sliced apples and I made every apple recipe around that used apples. So when I had a call this week asking for a recipe to make apple jelly, I thought go to the store and buy some Sure-jell, but here came the surprise she wanted a recipe without pectin. There are people that can't have pectin, but only what is natural. Also not using pectin cuts down on the cost.
My mom always made apple jelly without pectin and I can remember the glasses looking like jewels in the sunlight. In fact, she let the glasses of jelly sit on the counter a few days just to enjoy their beauty. This isn't really a hard jelly to make because apples have so much natural pectin. Of all the fruits this is the best for jelly. Jelly can be made without store-bought pectin, but not without the right amount of sugar. To use artificial sweeteners or less sugar does not work.
To make jelly you need the right equipment. I think you could go to dozens of kitchen stores and NOT find a jelly bag, but then again I think of my mom who used a large thin dish-towel. Many people now go to a fabric store and get some cheesecloth and when you tell the clerk what you want it for they know the size to measure off. Then you need a large colander or a large bowl that you can the strain the apples in so you end up with a clear apple juice. Also a large pan with a heavy bottom and jelly glasses, especially if you are going to give the jelly as a gift. Use any cooking apple that you know is juicy.
Wash the apples and do not take the time to pare or core, because peels and cores is where the natural pectin is stored. Cut in eights, removing any blemishes. Cook apples in heavy pan barely covered with water; simmer until quite soft and mushy, stirring occasionally. Strain the juice thru a jelly bag. If you squeeze the bag too much you won't get a clear juice. When the bag stops dripping measure the juice. Use no more than six cups of juice at a time. When everything is dissolved you can bring juice to a rolling boil.
Recipe 4 cups apple juice 2 tsp. lemon juice 3 cups sugar OR 1 cup juice and 1 cup sugar
Cook apples, strain juice. Measure apple juice in a heavy pan. Add lemon juice and sugar. Stir well. Boil mixture until jelly strings from the spoon. Remove from the heat.
Skim off the foam. Pour jelly into hot jars. May cover with paraffin. Adjust lids and seal.
A real good jelly maker doesn't make jelly when it is rainy weather.
"Don't forget to set your clocks back 1 hour this Saturday night, or you will be asking Does anyone know what time it is?"