Recipes: Homemade Crab Apple Jelly

Thomas's mother is a wealth of knowledge and expertise; her wisdom is not limited to the kitchen and recipes, but it's an area she really excels in. Her delicious roasts and sweet apple tarts are a delight we get to enjoy on a near weekly basis. Even more impressive, she cooks and bakes everything on a traditional Aga. Agas are cast iron stove tops and ovens with a continuously burning source, making them constantly hot; instead of turning on your oven or stove top and waiting for it to heat up, you merely open the door or lift the lid and it's already hot. This also means instead of adjusting the temperature of your stove for various recipes, you focus on your cooking times and adjust recipes to work with the Aga's set temperatures. I've been meaning to feature a few of her recipes on the blog for awhile, but then even after we captured this recipe I took ages to edit the pictures! So, much after the fact, here is Anne Glass's classic clove and crab apple jelly recipe.     Wash the apples and cut them up without peeling or coring--just remove any bruised parts. Tie a small cheesecloth bag to the rim of the pot with 10-15 grams of cloves depending on how strong you want the flavor. Barely cover with water (about 2-3 cups) and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
After the apples have simmered for about an hour or two they should be turning soft and pulpy, mash any last hard bits.

Place the apple mixture in a jelly bag and strain overnight into a bowl. Let the juice drip naturally; if you squeeze it the juice will become cloudy. (This is the step I saw on one of my first visits to Ireland and was fascinated with the sight of the jelly bag tied to the back of a chair, hanging out on top of the table!)
Return the strained juice to the pan and bring to a boil. Add the sugar; usually 1lb of sugar to every pint of juice. Crab apples have a lot of natural pectin so you don't need fancy jelly sugars or to add anything else; basic granulated sugar should do the trick. Stir to dissolve and boil briskly till setting point is reached. Test for a setting point by placing a drop of the jelly onto a cold plate; if it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready. 
While everything is cooking down, maybe take a little harp break by the Aga...
Sterilize jars by washing them in hot soapy water, then rinsing well and putting them into an oven to dry completely for 20 minutes (if you're using a traditional oven and can adjust heat, then heat to 225F). Keep the jars warm in the oven until you are ready to fill them with the jelly. 



  1. I really enjoyed this post, so different from your usual fashion ones. The crab apple jelly sounds delicious!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. Jelly is so pretty! My mom used to make crabapple jelly and grape jelly when I was growing up. I think when my apples are ready (any day now!), I'll attempted apple butter this year.

  3. This is so cute, I loved the photos!

  4. This sounds delicious! I've just stumbled across your blog and I'm in love with your photography and your style, you're gorgeous! Always good to find a fellow Northern Ireland resident as well. :)

    Sara - Flemingo

  5. Hi Rebecca,
    I so much like your daily blog posts. They usually are My first little relax moment in the morning, after having brought the household into order and feeding the cats.
    You are so gifted in "making a story". You don't just put pictures on the internet, you really make something about them, which is so much more than just the pictures. I follow only three bloggers and you are by far my favourite one. I wondered, what crab apples are, but now I think, these are just apples, which aren't so pretty anymore, because they had maybe fallen onto the floor or so. We have many of them, so I might also try this recipe out. Although I don't like cooking much, maybe because I have to do it so often (three teenage boys and hubby). I far prefer needlework of all kids! :)
    Have a great day Rebecca and thank you for all your inspiration!

    1. Hi Aneane! Aw thanks for the lovely comment! I'm so flattered you enjoy my blog--I do try to keep it a place of calm/quiet. I think it's nice to have a space online that is a bit slower and more simple. :) Yes, when I say crabapple I usually just mean a small sour apple--they can come from a wild tree, or like you said be the apples that fall early and aren't as mature as the ones that stayed on the branch longer. They're usually pretty sour so you wouldn't eat them straight from the branch, but they make really good jams/jellies and are good to use in baking. :)

  6. Love, love, love this post. Two beautiful and talented ladies. The apple jelly is beautiful too. I look forward to more cooking/food posts from you.

  7. I love this post! I think I will try it. Do you think regular apples will work too?
    Also, 1 lb of sugar for a pint of juice did I read that right? :)

    1. Hi Giuliana, Yes it is 1 lb of sugar for 1 pint of juice, but it will probably have to be adjusted for apples that are not crab apples. Since crab apples are naturally very tart, this amount of sugar works, but if you start with a sweeter apple you won't want as much sugar b/c that would make your jelly too sweet. Also crab apples have more natural pectin in them than domestic/farm apples, so you might need to add some sort of gelatin to a non-crab apple jelly to get it to set/thicken properly. Just things to keep in mind if you're not going to use crab apples. Hope it comes out yummy for you :)

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this! How magical to to be a guest to such timeless rituals. Perpetual fire and harp playing to boot : ) Very inspiring.


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