Thursday, 7 April 2011

Mint & Apple Jelly

Hmmmm chops
On a recent trip down south, to see the family, we were treated to the wonderful sight of fields full of baby lambs gambolling in the fresh spring grass. Now, however lovely this image, my first thought is lamb chops… harsh but I am a carnivore to the last. So, on being told that on Mothering Sunday I was to be treated to chops I knew I must make the perfect accompaniment. Now not to scare you off completely but to make jelly you need a jelly bag and stand (see Hints & Tips). That being said once you have the tools this is a really simple recipe to follow and the variations are endless. Mint can be swapped for any fresh herb of your choosing or you could even try rose petals or scented geranium leaves for a delicate but perfumed version.

5 large cooking apples
1 bunch of mint
Approx. 2kgs sugar
100ml cider vinegar

Chop the apples into large chunks without removing their skins or core. Then place into a large pan and fill with enough water that they are just floating. Bring the pan to boil and cover and simmer the fruit for about 45 minutes or until the fruit is very soft.  Pour all of the stewed fruit into a jelly bag over a large bowl containing three mint sprigs and leave for about four hours or overnight to drip through. Don’t squeeze the bag because this will make the finished jelly cloudy.
The next day measure the amount of liquid you have collected and return it to a clean pan with the cider vinegar. While you are waiting for this mixture to reach boiling point you need to weigh out 450g of sugar for every 600ml of strained juice you collected. Stir continually until all the sugar is dissolved. You then need to bring this mixture to a rolling boil. It took about 25 minutes for my mixture to reach setting point but I started to test for a set at 15 minutes, as every batch is different. You do not need to stir at this time as it introduces cold air to the liquid and means it takes longer to reach setting point.(see Hints & Tips).
Once you are happy with the level of set remove the pan from the heat and remove any scum and the mint sprigs with a slotted spoon. Then pour the hot liquid into a jug and leave to cool for ten minutes. While you are waiting finely chop the remaining mint. Add the mint to the jug and stir very gently. Don’t panic if all the mint then floats to the top of the jug it just means you need to leave it another few minutes. Once the mint stops floating you can then fill your sterilised jars.
Should keep for up to a year.

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