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Old 08-03-2014, 07:12 PM   #1
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Crab apple canning issues

Hello all! I am new to canning and am kinda just trying to figure things out as I go. Today I decided to make some crab apple jelly from some crab apples I picked a few days ago and I kept running into problems! Firstly the recipe (from the Ball Blue Book guide to canning) said to juice the apples but when I added the amount of water specified the apple mush became thick and dry and started to burn on the bottom. After adding more water I still ended up about a cup short on juice. When I looked online I found various people added various amounts of water; some added an inch or two, some added enough to submerge the apples. I also wasn't sure how long to let the apples drain of their juices and when I Googled it I again found several differing opinions; some people said a few minutes, some a few hours, some almost a day.

The next part of the recipe called for combining the juice and sugar and letting them gel together. Again I was confused as the recipe simply said "cook to gelling point" but it only specified how to tell when it reaches gelling point. So how do I get there? Do I let it boil? Do I turn the heat down and let it set? Do I stir constantly? Frequently?

So I ask, how much water would/do YOU guys add? How long do you let the apples drain? And how exactly DO I "cook to gelling point"? I'm very confused

FYI, even though I didn't end up with the 12 half pints of jelly I was anticipating, I still made enough to fill 8 half pints, plus 3 pints of apple sauce! And I want to make more this week!

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Old 08-03-2014, 08:00 PM   #2
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I made mint jelly using crab apples, once, 25 years ago. I did take notes. I followed the instructions in Joy of Cooking. It said to quarter the crab apples and remove the stem and blossoms. Be sure to include the apple peel. Put it in a saucepan and add water until it can be seen through the top layer of fruit. Then cook it uncovered until it is soft. I boiled it, even though the recipe doesn't specify. Then you put the fruit and liquid in a jelly bag and let it drip. When you make the jelly, you allow 3/4 to 1 cup of sugar for each cup of juice.

Don't squeeze the jelly bag, just be prepared to it let it drip for a long time. Apparently, if you squeeze the bag, the liquid becomes cloudy.

To make it mint jelly, bruise a few stems of mint and attach them with string into a bundle. When the juice and sugar are at the jelly stage, take it off the heat and drag the bruised mint through the jelly until you think it has absorbed enough mint flavour/aroma. Remove the mint. If you want it to be green, add some food colouring. I just left mine light pink.

The mint jelly was wonderful.
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Old 08-03-2014, 08:30 PM   #3
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Also, how long do you guys boil the water and apples for?
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:14 PM   #4
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Hi, Buff. I trust the Cooperative Extension Service because their recipes are based on research. Here's some info on canning crab apples: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_02/crab_apple_spiced2.html

There are lots of links to give you more tips on how to can successfully and safely. Good luck.
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Old 08-03-2014, 09:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buff View Post
Also, how long do you guys boil the water and apples for?
I boiled the apples until they were almost falling apart. I probably brought them to a boil and then simmered them.
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Old 08-04-2014, 08:28 AM   #6
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I can't give you any advice about making crab apple jelly but would be willing to be a tester for you! My grandmother used to make it all the time. Never was with her when she made it and it was my favorite jelly. I would love to have some. She had 2 crab apple trees in her yard near the old pasteurization shed on the farm. I was always amazed at how those hard bitter apples could become such sublime jelly. Good luck on your project. Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 08-04-2014, 10:57 AM   #7
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My mom makes crab apple preserve, if you are interested I can ask her for recipe. It is actually cute lovely, you end up with the whole a little apples. Yum.
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