Crabapple Jelly Recipe

Curious about making crabapple jelly? So were we! We reached out to Julian, one of our wonderful pick leaders, who is well known for his jams and jellies. He has shared his recipe with us, and we hope that you enjoy your time making it with all of the crabapples you have picked!

This is a general recipe – following the principles of all jelly making. The more careful you are in straining and skimming makes for a very crystal clear jelly that is eye catching in the jar.

Note: Crab apples are high in pectin and should not require any additional pectin. In fact crab apple juice can be used as a “pectin stock” for low pectin fruits instead of adding any water.

– 2kg crab apples (or any quantity). Can be any colour, yellow or red makes for a pretty jelly
– Around 2 litres water (equal to weight of fruit).
– 1 lemon, zest pared and juiced or a couple of tablespoons of bottled lemon juice.
– Around 1kg white fine granulated sugar – depends on proportions – see below.

Special equipment
– Jelly bag (or cheesecloth and sieve). Lee Valley Tools sell them.
– Heavy base pan
– Jam Jars & Snap Lids


Wash and drain the fruit, then cut the apples in half and add to a large, heavy-based saucepan with an equal quantity of water and the pared lemon zest. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the apples are pulpy. Stir occasionally using the back of a wooden spoon to help break down the fruit. Julian personally uses a potato masher.


Remove from heat and allow to cool a little. Place the fruit pulp in a jelly bag (or a big sieve lined with a couple of layers of cheesecloth) and allow the juice to drip through into a large bowl (this will take several hours, so doing this overnight is ideal). If you force the fruit through, this will create a cloudy jelly. Resist squeezing out every last drop or pressing down on the pulp.


Put two small saucers in the freezer – you will use these to test the setting point of the jelly. Or use a thermometer. You are looking for 105 C.


Weigh the fruity liquid and return to a large saucepan. Weigh at least three quarters of sugar to your total liquid amount (for example, if you have 500g ( ½ litre) of liquid, add 500g of sugar). Julian usually goes with 50/50 for a good set i.e. 1 litre juice/1kg sugar. Warm the sugar in the oven whilst the juice is heating up. It helps the sugar to dissolve quicker but is not essential.


Add the sugar to the juice with the lemon juice, and stir over medium heat until completely dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring the fruit to the boil. Stir occasionally and allow to boil for about 8 minutes, removing any scum with a spoon. If you are using a thermometer, you’re looking to reach 105 C. If not, check
the setting point of the liquid after 8 minutes by removing a saucer from the freezer and adding a teaspoon of the liquid to the plate. Allow to sit 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 another minute.


Pour into previously sterilised jars and allow to cool completely. You can sterilise the jars by washing them in hot soapy liquid, rinsing and placing in an oven at 180C/160C fan/gas 4 for 5 minutes. You can also do so by dipping the jars into clean boiling water. Remember to warm up the Snap lids in a small pan of water. Fill jars to about ¼ inch below the rim. Once all the jars are filled and have lids on them – wipe off any spillages with a damp cloth. Remove carefully and allow to cool. Check that the lids have curved downwards for a good seal. Label and store in a cool, dark place.
Crab apple can also be mixed with rowan berries or herbs such as mint/tarragon/rosemary to make a flavoured savoury jelly. Just add the other ingredients in the boiling pulp phase.

Thank you Julian for this wonderful recipe! If you make jelly using this recipe, be sure to send us photos at

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