This delicate fruit preserve can help you use up your bounty of peak fall apples. A crystal clear jelly is what you are after here, so look for cooking apples — you want firm, crisp fruit that will hold up to stewing and straining without falling apart. Once the apples are cooked and their juices are extracted, the resulting jam is reminiscent of floral honey and tart citrus. Serve with a buttery croissant, warm toast, as a filling for pastries or a glaze for fruit tarts and cakes.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 3 ½pounds cooking apples, such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady, Jonagold, Braeburn or Honeycrisp, or a combination, scrubbed
- 4cups granulated sugar
- ¼cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons), plus more as needed
- ½teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
Step 1Cut the apples into 1-inch pieces without peeling or coring, but discard any damaged or spoiled spots.
Step 2Place the apples in a large nonreactive pot and pour in 8 cups water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat to maintain a simmer and cook without stirring until the apples soften, 35 to 40 minutes.
Step 3Remove from the heat. Set a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth or a muslin bag over another large pot, and pour the contents of the pot into the sieve. Do not press on the apples to prevent the jelly from becoming cloudy. You should have at least 7 cups of juice. Some apple varieties absorb more water and may need 2 to 8 hours for the juice to naturally strain out. If that’s the case, refrigerate the pot.
Step 4Place a small plate in the freezer to use for testing the setting point of the jelly. Set the pot with the juice over medium-high heat. (Discard the fruit.) Add the sugar and lemon juice, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, skimming and discarding any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid reduces by about three-quarters and a candy or deep-fry thermometer registers 225 degrees, 40 to 50 minutes. To test for doneness, spoon a small amount of liquid onto the cold plate from the freezer and return to the freezer to cool completely, about 2 minutes. Drag a spoon through the jelly. The setting point has been reached if it wrinkles and the wrinkles hold their shape. If they don’t, continue to cook the jelly and test every few minutes on the cold plate.
Step 5Once the jelly is done cooking, add the salt, stir to dissolve and adjust with more lemon juice, if needed, for a nice balance of sweet and tart with a floral taste. Ladle the hot liquid into clean, sanitized jars, screw on the lids and follow steps to can, or allow to cool to room temperature and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.