Apple Jelly and Hornets

how to make apple jelly

A few weeks ago, a friend was helping herself to some apples from my growing mountain of windfall apples. She mentioned that she has been making apple herb jelly to go with her lamb roasts, for winter. So easy as it was all chopping and no peeling. No peeling? My ears pricked up. No need to peel the apples?

This time of year, we have baskets upon baskets of apples. I spend all my spare moments, peeling and processing them. If I have one empty basket by the end of the day, I am happy! Each apple season, I start off enthusiastic, but after several weeks it wears off. Come midwinter and I know that I will be very happy to have a pie filler ready for use. Its… just ….all ….that… peeeeeling!

apple jelly in jars

So, easy apple jelly sounded good. Today, I made 7 jars of apple and rosemary jelly. It is yummy. The fragrance filled the house. I’ll still make enough pie fillings and apple crumbles to last me till next apple harvest, but this means that I can process the mountain of apples faster and use the windfalls before their bruises get too big.

Hornet on the compost lid

The spoilt ones end up on the compost, where the hornets feast on them. Still be plenty left for the hornets. Found this hornet under TF’s bed, during the summer. He assures me he didn’t put it there. Fascinating little insects. We show them respect and we never have any problems with them.

Dead hornet

Recipe for Apple and Rosemary Jelly

5 lbs roughly chopped up washed apples (discard the bad bits, but include the skin and core)
2 pints of distilled white vinegar
lots of sugar
a handful of rosemary sprigs (or herb such as mint, thyme, sage, etc)

1. Put the apples, rosemary and 2 pints of water in a preserve pan and bring to the boil on the stove. Simmer it for 45 mins or until the fruit is soft. Stir occasionally.

2. Add the vinegar and boil for another 5 minutes.

3.Carefully put the mixture in a jelly bag and let it drip through overnight.

4. Compost the apple pulp and measure the extract back into the preserve pan. For every pint of extract, add 1 lb of sugar to the pan, as well.

5. Put the pan on the stove and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil. Boil until it reaches setting point. Remove scum with a spoon.

6. Remove from stove and pot.

I think this will go well with cheese and biscuits, roasts, cold meats, pancakes and lots more. I’m going to make a batch of apple mint jelly next.

(edited: have a look at my apple and rosemary jam jar labelling here)

Thank you all for your lovely comments about the Acorn Wish Fairies. They and their kin are firm favourites when I’m story telling with the children. I’m glad the fairies passed on some of their happy fairy magic to you all.

18 thoughts on “Apple Jelly and Hornets

  • Tuesday 18 October, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    How lucky you are to have so many apples. The apple jelly looks fabulous. One of our boys has a phobia with all things wasp/hornets. They are fascinating creatures although a real nuisance.

    • Tuesday 18 October, 2011 at 1:49 pm

      We find the hornets easy to live with. The wasps are more persistant, so they are more of a nuisance. This summer was the first time we know of a hornet making its way inside the house. It was tangled in a spiders web under my son’s bed. When I reached to get it out, I must have touched a bit of the web and the hornet moved. My heart missed a beat, but the hornet must have been long dead. Still unsettling to think it was alive and trapped in his bedroom at some point!

  • Tuesday 18 October, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    the jelly looks lovely 😆 😆 😆
    and the hornets fascinating (but perhaps I must confess a little scary 😳 )

    • Thursday 20 October, 2011 at 9:42 am

      At least you can hear the hornets coming. They drone so. 🙂

  • Tuesday 18 October, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    we get tons of apples every week in our organic box, and I love cooking with them, but like you, I get a bit fed up with all the peeling! Then one day I was at a friends house and saw one of these in action….
    I was beyond impressed! I now have one, and what is great is that once I’ve loaded the apple onto the spikes, my 2 year old *loves* turning the handle all by herself to turn the apple into a spiral of peel-less apple. You can find them on amazon if you search for ‘apple peeler’. Enjoy 🙂

    • Thursday 20 October, 2011 at 9:44 am

      Thanks for the tip, Debbie. I’ve looked at the peelers before, but held off. This year I have had enough. Our apple yield is getting bigger than ever. I’ve just ordered an apple peeler on your recommendation. I have a whole team of eager handle turners, so maybe I will get the bushels processed faster this year. Fingers crossed.

  • Wednesday 19 October, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    I have made jelly but your recipe looks easy enough to make me make some more! What a beautiful colour it looks….xx

    • Thursday 20 October, 2011 at 9:46 am

      The colour is beautiful. We had some with supper last night and, on the plate, it is a beautiful blush pink colour. I saw one recipe that suggested food colouring, but I rally don’t think its needed.

  • Wednesday 19 October, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    We have also made apple and thyme jelly which is nice – and also apple and lavender, if you get late lavender and early apples.

    Pomona x

    • Thursday 20 October, 2011 at 9:48 am

      Lavender! You are talking my kind of language. It crossed my mind, but I wasn’t sure if it would be over the top. I might try a small batch as a taste check. I need to harvest our last lot of lavender, so its great timing. Thanks for the suggestion, Pomona. 🙂 🙂

  • Thursday 20 October, 2011 at 12:04 am

    YUM!! What a delicious combination…rosemary & apples are in great abundance here and I loathe peeling (and hornets). Thanks for the recipe!! 🙂

    • Thursday 20 October, 2011 at 9:51 am

      Peeling is not so bad, but after several days, I just run out of steam. I’d rather be doing something different. Almost anything. This recipe is perfect as the preparation time is minimal. Hope you enjoy the jelly. 🙂

  • Thursday 20 October, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Yum, yum, yum, thanks for posting that recipe! I have a table groaning with apples from our tree, and I have to admit to looking at them with a slightly jaundiced eye of late, I loathe peeling! I had a jar of apple, mint and chilli jelly from a farmers market recently which was just scrumptious i had decided I must make some! I think I might just use your recipe and add a bit of chilli, fab! We had so many hornets at our last house, they used to terrify me! We hardly see them now, but you can definitely hear them coming!
    Could you please tell me where you found that beautiful unicorn from your last post? He/she is just beautiful! Liz x

    • Friday 21 October, 2011 at 9:34 am

      I’m only dealing with windfalls at the moment. Just looked out at one of the trees and I reckon it has over 200 cookers ready for picking. I like the idea of apple and chilli jelly. I wouldn’t have thought about putting mint with it. Must try it! I bought the unicorn online, a few years ago, from Laughing Bear, but just checked and they don’t seem to stock it anymore. Myriadonline has got them. We bought one each for the girls and made fairies and fairy wagons to go with them. They have spent lots of time playing with this set (and still do).

  • Friday 21 October, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Thankyou Cheryl, I have just ordered a little unicorn, along with rather a lot of other craft bits! I had totally forgotten about Myriad, last time I shopped with them must have been at least 3 years ago. What a website! So much I want, I had to exercise a LOT of self control!
    I cannot believe how many apples you have, that is a bumper harvest! Shame you don’t have a staff to process them for you! It is so difficult to find the time to get it all done. It will be very much worth it when it is done though. Enjoy the results! Liz x

    • Sunday 23 October, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      I am terrible when Myriads catalogue comes through the post. Far too tempting. I know that the children would love almost anything from them, but I’d end up filling their bedrooms, so I do reign it in! Laughing at the idea of staff. I have contemplated it before when I’m harvesting the blackcurrants, but not the apples. At the moment all the children are helping. My freezer is filling up fast.

  • Saturday 22 October, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    The apple and rosemary jelly sounds wonderful. I have never tried making jelly, maybe I should give it a try. I love reading your blog, I lived in England for eight years as a child in Cheltenham and loved it. I go back as often as I can. Visiting your blog makes me feel as if I have had a little trip back to England!

    • Sunday 23 October, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks, Cheryl. I’m so glad that I can help! 😀 Cheltenham is a beautiful town. I love visiting other blogs to see their part of the world, so I know exactly what you mean. Have a go at the apple jelly. Its a new one for me and I know I shall be making a batch each year from now on.

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