Preserving Summer: Crabapple Jelly

Every autumn comes around and I can’t resist buying a basket of pretty crabapples thinking I’ll make a jelly. The problem is, I’ve never made jelly and as simple as it may be, the first time for anything is reason enough to drag one’s feet. I usually end up packing the small apples into a wide mouth jar, adding some sugar and topping it up with vodka for a nice pink liquor come Christmas time.
But this fall was different and I actually produced a batch of crabapple jelly; mornings are cheerier when you can wake up to this pretty pink spread on toast .

There is very little labor involved in this jelly. No apple peeling, coring, or sieving; just wash them, cut in half and cook them down slowly, then mash them up and leave them to drain overnight in a jelly bag and see the lovely pink juices gather. These will make great gifts come holiday season!Crabapple Jelly
4 lb (1.8 kg) apples or crabapples
5 cups (1250 ml) water
5 cups (1250 ml) granulated sugar
1 pkg (57 g) Fruit Pectin
½ teaspoon butter Wash and remove both stem and blossom ends from apples. Cut apples into chunks and combine with water in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil. Cover and boil gently 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Thoroughly crush mixture and boil gently 5 minutes longer.
Pour cooked fruit into a dampened jelly bag or cheesecloth-lined sieve over a large bowl. Let juice drip, undisturbed, 2 hours or overnight (squeezing bag may cause cloudy jelly). Place 7 clean 250 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner; cover jars with water and heat to a simmer Set screw bands aside. Heat sealing discs in hot water, not boiling. Keep jars and sealing discs hot until ready to use. Measure sugar; set aside.
Measure 5 cups juice into a large, deep stainless steel saucepan. Whisk in pectin until dissolved and add 1/2 tsp (2 ml) butter to reduce foaming Over high heat, bring mixture to a full rolling boil. Add all the sugar. Stirring constantly, return mixture to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil hard 1 minute. Remove from heat; skim foam if necessary. Quickly ladle hot jelly into a hot jar to within 1/4 inch of top rim. Wipe jar rim removing any stickiness. Centre hot sealing disc on clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner ensuring jars are covered by water. Repeat for remaining jelly.Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. Process 10 minutes.
Turn stove off, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours. After cooling check jar seals. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. Makes about 7 x 250 ml jars

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

Subscribe For Free!

Like reading this post?
Get more delivered to your email inbox.


  1. congrats on your first batch of jelly! I am sure it tastes fantantic.I find it intimidating to charter into something I have never tried! And making jelly is one of them ;p But seeing yours change my mind.

  2. Man, that brings back a lot of memories of my mémere’s crabapple jelly. Exactly the same stuff and she always had huge stock. Whenever we visited and spent the night, breakfast always included crabapple jelly on white toast. So yummy.

  3. Jams and jellies are so intimidating to me, unless I can send the kids out for the morning and truly focus on it.
    Your jelly looks so pretty, I’ve never heard of crabapple jelly before.

  4. i have never had this before. Wondering how it will taste like. But it looks so pretty, I’m sure it tastes wonderful!

  5. Now the jelly looks great Aimee and I’d not heard of crabapple jelly before, the vodka sounds really good too! What a dilemma I’d be in if I had to choose which one to make..

  6. The jars of jelly look so pretty, Aimée. I’d be thrilled if it was given to me as a gift. This is a terrific idea.

  7. I did a similar thing this year and made homemade apple juice from the apples from our tree. It was devine and gloriously pink in hue. 🙂 Your jelly looks lovely! They look like the same apples our tree produced a MILLION of!

  8. Aimee – I fondly recall crabapple from my childhood but have never seen it in the shops. Tamasin Day-Lewis has almost tempted me to make it, but come Autumn I always forget to look for them. Next Autumn (it is now Spring in New Zealand) I will go to an orchard. I must say, though, that the idea of making a crabapple vodka is also appealing. Beautiful.

  9. Hi Mandy- I know how you feel, but there is a first time for everything, right? Hope you give it a shot!

    Hi Zaak- It’s certainly something I remember from my childhood too. Good times.

    Hi Sandy- Yes, this is a good weekend project when dad can be around to keep the kids out of the kitchen!

    Hi Anh- It’s a much more tart and subtle flavor than say, grape jelly, for example.

    Hi Amanda- Hmm, so many people haven’t heard of crabapple jelly and I thought I was making the oldest thing in the book. Dare I say it’s a Canadian thing?
    The liquor is lovely too, but since I can’t drink for another 5 months…:)

    Hi Nora- Thanks! I know I always like to get foodstuff as gifts, so it’s usually my favorite thing to give away.

    HI Mandy- Sounds delicious! You should make some cider.

    Hi Shaun- Welcome to Under the High Chair! I’m curious now, do you not have crabapples in NZ?

  10. These are really pretty crabapples, and I love the very pink jelly. We pretty much stick with muscadine and plum around here although a few have tried common “exotics” such as kudzu jelly. Nice blog.

  11. Hi…just wanted you to know that I stumbled across your blog the other day. I’ve made your delicious jelly and posted about it on my blog! Yummy! Thanks!

  12. This post prompted me to stop at the Shriner's post in our neighborhood and ask if I could have their crab apples.

    This is what we will be doing this weekend, to top off our summer.


Speak Your Mind