The Little Library Kitchen: apple cider jelly 

Food writer Kate Young cooks from her favourite books. This month, apple cider jelly, inspired by John Irving's book, Cider House Rules

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By Kate Young on

Cider Apple Jelly


Fill two 500ml jars

  • 1.5kg apples (whatever you can lay your hands on – a mixture of varieties is lovely)
  • Up to 500g jam sugar*
  • 500ml dry apple cider
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  1. Chop the apples roughly, and place them (cores and all) into a large saucepan. Cover with around 1.25 liters of water. Place over a moderate heat, and bring to a simmer. Cook until soft and pulpy; this should take around 25-30 minutes.
  2. Strain the apples through a piece of fine muslin. Don’t push them through, or stir vigorously, as your jelly will end up cloudy. Let the clear juice strain through over a good few hours, or overnight.
  3. Weigh the apple juice, and put in a saucepan with the same weight of jam sugar. Add the same amount of apple cider (500ml cider for 500ml apple juice), and then the juice of two lemons.
  4. Bring the jelly to a simmer, and keep an eye on it, skimming the surface of any scum that forms. The jelly will reach setting point around 105C, but if you don’t have a thermometer, you can test it on an ice-cold plate. After it has simmered for around fifteen minutes, turn the heat off, drop a little on the plate, count to ten, and then nudge it with your finger. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. If your finger draws a line straight through it, turn the heat back on and simmer for a little longer.
  5. Pour the jelly into sterilised jars and seal. They will keep for six months; once you have opened the jar, do keep the jelly in the fridge and use within a few weeks.

*Apples do have pectin in them, as do lemons. As such, you don’t necessarily need sugar with added pectin to make the jelly set. If you’re worried, you can add some (you can buy it in sachets). However, I would recommend using jam sugar; the larger crystals mean that it melts more evenly, remains clearer, and you’ll have less scum to scrape off as it simmers away.

This recipe is taken from Kate Young's new cookbook, The Little Library Cookbook, out now


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