Apple Jelly Time

I just finished reading a story about how most U.S. apple growers are expecting a record crop this summer, which got me to thinking about making jelly.

Last year, my friend and gardening partner, Darrel Koehler, had an overabundance of grapes, so he passed some on to me. With them, I made some jelly and also canned several pints of juice. I also was given several bags of chokecherries by Mac and Bettye Salisbury, which also became jelly.

This summer, I’m contemplating some crab apple jelly. When I was growing up, we had a crab apple tree in our backyard, and my mom always made jelly. But after we grew, much to my chagrin, she had the apple tree cut down. She said it was too big a mess to clean up in fall.

Ever since, I’ve thought about that tasty jelly and wished for some to have on a sandwich with a little peanut butter. This summer, I’m going to give crab apple jelly a try, since friends have trees that are loaded.

While looking for recipes, I came across the following one from the folks at Mrs. Wages, which makes mixes for jellies, salsas and the like. While I make some salsa from scratch, my version in which a package of Mrs. Wages Classic Salsa Mix (there now are five new flavors) has been a hit. So, I’m going to give the crab apple mix a try.

Crab Apple Jelly
4 cups apple juice
1 package Mrs. Wages Home-Jell
6 cups sugar
Sort and wash apples and remove stems. Do not core. Cut the fruit into small pieces. Add 1 cup of water to each pound of chopped apples. Cover the kettle and bring to a boil. When the batch starts to boil, reduce heat and simmer about 25 to 30 minutes, until the fruit is tender but not mushy. Place contents of the kettle into a jelly bag. Let the juice drip into a clean pan. Follow the procedure under making jelly.
Yield: 4 to 5 half-pint jars.
Noe: Spiced apple jelly can be made by adding a few whole spices to the cooking apples. Added spice should be tied up in a cloth bag.