Basic Apple Jelly

Photo Credit
The Editors
Print Friendly and PDF

This Basic Apple Jelly recipe is very flexible. Choose your apple variety based on flavor. Porters or MacIntosh will make a sweet jelly, while Gravensteins or Greenings will make a spicier jelly. Learn about the best apple varieties for cooking.

This recipe works with Crab Apples as well. 

See our “How to Make Jelly” Guide for more information and jelly recipes.

4 pounds tart (underripe) apples or crab apples
4 cups water
3 cups sugar
  1. Wash the apples, remove the stems and the blossom ends, and cut into quarters. Do not pare—a large amount of the natural pectin is lodged in and just under the skin. Cut crab apples in half.
  2. Put prepared apples in a large stainless steel or enameled kettle. Add the cold water—there should be about an inch of apples out of the water, but you should be able to see the water level in the kettle. Cover and cook slowly over low heat until the apples are soft.
  3. Mash the fruit slightly while it is still in the kettle. Suspend over a large bowl in a damp jelly bag or colander lined with wet cheesecloth. The juice will drip through the bag or colander into the bowl. Pour the kettle contents, fruit and liquid, into the bag or colander and allow the juice to drip through into the bowl for at least 2 hours or overnight. Meanwhile, do something else so that you will not be tempted to squeeze the bag to hurry things along. Squeezing (or pushing through the colander) will not hurt the flavor of the jelly, but it will cloud it as minute particles of pulp will come through into the juice.
  4. When the juice has dripped through, measure out 4 cups (leave the rest for another batch), add to a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Add the sugar while stirring the jelly. Continue stirring, keeping the jelly at a boil until the candy thermometer reads 8 degrees above the boiling point of water - about 220°F - or until the jelly sheets off a spoon.
  5. Remove from heat and skim the foam off the jelly. Quickly ladle the hot apple jelly into hot, sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch of headspace.  Wipe the rims of the jars and add lids that have been washed and dried. Add screw bands and tighten until fingertip-tight.
  6. Place jars on a rack in a boiling water bath canner and make sure they are completely covered with water (1-2 inches above the jars). Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Process ½ pint mason jars and 8 oz jelly jars for 10 minutes. Remove the canner lid for 5 minutes, then remove the jars to a towel on the counter and cool for 12 to 24 hours. Learn more about how to properly can food at home. Test the sealing of jars by pressing lightly in the center of the lid and store jars that have been sealed.  Any jars that don’t seal may be refrigerated and used.
About The Author

The Almanac Chefs

We love introducing fun new recipes as well as time-tested recipes, straight from the archives! Read More from The Almanac Chefs

No content available.