1kg green apples
2 red apples
1 tsp of allspice
4 whole cloves
2 cups red wine – good quality with some flavour (cab sav etc)
1 Tsp lemon juice
Sugar (one cup for every 1 cup liquid)
Cut the all the apples into quarters, including skin and cores and place in a large saucepan with the allspice, cloves and 1 litre of water. Bring slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered for approx. 40 mins or until the apple is soft and pulpy.
Using a fine cloth sieve or a jelly bag (see pic) if you have one, drain the apple pulp over a heatproof bowl. Don’t be tempted to push the fruit through the sieve as this will make your jelly cloudy. Leave to drain overnight or until all liquid has drained from the apples.
Discard the pulp and add wine and lemon juice to the liquid. Measure the liquid and poor into a large pan and heat until boiling. For every one cup of liquid, add one cup of sugar to the pan once boiling. Some people warm their sugar first in the microwave so as not to lower the temperature of the liquid when the sugar is added. I find if you add the sugar slowly, the liquid doesn’t go far from “the boil” anyway. Stir the liquid until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and stir often for approx. 40 mins.
A scum will sometimes appear too. You can lift this away if you like, but again, I often find it dissipates once you have finished cooking. Start testing for setting point.
Once jam is set, remove from the heat. I let my mixture sit for a few minutes to let it get off the boil. I then pour it into a large heat proof jug that I have sterilised along with my jars. Using the jug, pour your jelly into your sterilised jars. Make sure you bring the liquid close to the top as it will “shrink back” on cooling, and you can end up with a half empty looking jar!
At this stage many cooks put a sterilised metal lid on their jams and jellies. I prefer to use the jam covers available in supermarkets (and often found on the reduced trolley as no one seems to use them!). You simple place a cover over the top of the jar and secure it with the plastic bands supplied. The covers allow me to get a good “seal” which proves important for keeping your jams preserved. You will know you have a good seal as the plastic cover will go from looking wrinkled first up to being taut and “drum like” as the heat from the jam creates a vacuum (thanks again food techy).
The plastic cover also looks quite pretty and professional. If I’m buying jams etc at a fete, I will look for this effect so that I can be assured that the jam has been cooked well and “preserved”. However do not under any circumstances question a member of the CWA (Country Womens Association) on her jam making skills. These gals have been at it for centuries and are the experts! They are to be worshipped!
Store your jars of glistening deep ruby jelly (nod to Nigella) in a cool place for up to 12 months. Mine never lasts this long as it is consumed in large quantities at Christmas! Enjoy…..