crab apple jelly recipe

Home-made Crab Apple Jelly

We’re been foraging for apples at our local community orchard again this year, and this time as well as the other apples we also brought home a bag full of crab apples to make crab apple jelly out of. It’s fairly easy, though beware that it does involve a LOT of sugar.

crab apple jelly recipe


(makes roughly 2 to 3 jars)

  • 2 kg crab apples
  • approx. 500g white caster sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • water

You will also need a jelly bag or muslin cloth.

crab apples


  • Wash the crab apples, then cut in to quarters and place in a large saucepan. No need to peel or core them.
  • Add enough water to just cover the apples, and bring to the boil.
  • Lower the heat, and leave to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the apples are really soft and start to go mushy, which may take a little longer depending on how firm your apples were to begin with. TIP: Cover with a lid whilst simmering to reduce evaporation. Regularly check on the apples while they are cooking, and top up the water if necessary.
  • Next, you’ll need to strain out the liquid from the pulp. If you have a jelly bag, carefully transfer the apple mixture in to the jelly bag, and hang it over a bowl or wide rimmed jug to catch the liquid. If you don’t have a jelly bag, you can use a muslin – place the apples in the middle, then gather up the ends and tie them together tightly with some string.
  • You’ll need to leave the jelly bag or muslin hanging for at least 12 hours, I did it over night and then did the next step in the morning. Whatever you do, don’t squeeze the bag/ muslin or your jelly will go cloudy.
  • Once your apples have finished straining, discard the pulp (remember not to squeeze out the rest!) then measure how much liquid you have. I got around 350ml per 1 kg of apples, but if your apples are jucier you may get some more.
  • Place two or three large metal spoons in your freezer.
  • Place the liquid in a large saucepan along with the juice of the lemon. Now add the sugar. This will vary, depending how much liquid you drained out of your apples. The ratio is 10 parts liquid to 7 parts sugar, so for every 100ml of liquid you add 70g sugar.
  • Now bring the mixture to a boil, to dissolve the sugar, then keep it at a boil for around 10 to 15 minutes, scooping off any foam that forms on the top.
  • To test if the jelly is ready, take out one of the chilled spoons from the freezer and with another spoon pour a little bit of liquid on to the chilled spoon. Leave it to cool for a minute, then push your finger through the liquid. If it starts to wrinkle, the jelly is ready. If not, return to the boil and try again after a few minutes.
  • Once the jelly is ready, pour in to sterilised jars, seal tightly, and leave to cool completely. We got 2 jars out of our latest batch, but in the past I’ve gotten 2.5 or even 3 jars, it depends a little on the apples and how juicy they are, and how quickly you can get the jelly to setting point as the longer you need to boil it the more it will reduce.
  • The crab apple jelly can be eaten like jam on bread or toast, but also tastes great with e.g. with meat such as pork, or with. a cheese board.

Comments: 1

  • reply


    28 October 2021

    This is a great recipe, we love foraging, it’s so much fun with the children

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