A dark black background with two glass jars, one filled with a red jelly

Apple jelly

  • Makes 500ml
  • A little effort

Celebrate apple season by preserving the autumnal fruit with chilli, mint and ginger. Enjoy your homemade apple jelly served with cheese and crackers

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Try this recipe for homemade apple jelly, then check out more seasonal jam and chutney recipes.

Rosie says: “There’s something slightly melancholic and back-to-school about September, and the slow, painful ebbing away of summer. October brings with it a new energy and optimism, and a comforting certainty that we are well and truly in the midst of autumn. Autumn surprises me in the quiet, understated way it delights. The shocking beauty of a crisp, golden-tinged autumnal day, and the seasonal pleasures of ripe autumn produce, all hold unique charms to be celebrated and cherished.

As it’s now too nippy for alfresco get-togethers, we turn our attention to cosy inside gatherings, and there are so many lovely ways to make dinners extra special at this time of year. One of my favourite supper clubs I held in London was in the autumn, with the Russian food writer Alissa Timoshkina. Together, and with the help of brilliant florist, Worm London, we worked on a gorgeous set-up for the dinner that included a huge, meandering hanging display of dried hops, and tablescapes of autumnal fruit (figs, split pomegranates and pears), along with boughs of glossy, ruby and bronze-hued crab apples, and grasses dotted down the tables in stem jars. I served a menu of foraged and allotment produce: fried wild beefsteak mushrooms for the vegetarians; slow-cooked pork belly with cider, allotment apples and homegrown lovage-flecked potatoes; and a delicate dashi and eel broth with local wild cherry plums I fermented to make a kind of east London umeboshi.

But I’m not suggesting anything quite so elaborate for our dinners at home. Autumnal tables can be given a sense of occasion with simple displays of harvest fruit and vegetables – I love to place those cheerful, bobbly squashes, apples and pears down the table, on a simple white linen cloth. And, if you’re lucky enough to own or live near a fruiting crab apple tree, branches hanging with the little fruits make a statement on their own, or as additions to floral arrangements along with brambles.

With the change in the season, the tone of our cooking and appetites also shift, and, happily, this coincides with the abundance of orchard fruits. As we enter a phase of eating rich braises, meat dishes and cheeseboards, the English apples, pears and quinces are at their prime. I love preserving these fruits to make the most of their season, and search out local quinces, medlars and crab apples for quivering jellies.

Good old fashioned apples also work beautifully for one of my all-time favourites which I’m sharing with you here – apple jelly with chilli, ginger and mint. I make it in bulk every year to eat with roast meats, cheeses and in sandwiches (it’s particularly good in toasties and sausage sandwiches). The recipe is simple but requires a little patience when finding the setting point, as pectin and moisture levels in the fruit do vary. Once you’ve made your first jar, though, I’m sure this will become a permanent fixture in your fridge.”

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Ingredients

  • Granny Smith apples or cooking apples 600-750g
  • caster sugar (see method)
  • cider vinegar or lime juice 1 tsp
  • red chilli 1, deseeded and finely diced
  • pul biber or dried chilli flakes 2 tsp
  • ginger 2cm piece, peeled and finely chopped
  • mint a sprig, leaves finely chopped

Method

  • Step 1

    Chop up the apples, core and all, and put in a pan. Cover with 1-1.5 litres of water and bring to the boil, then cook for 45 minutes until the fruit has softened and darkened.

  • Step 2

    Strain the fruit and liquid through a sieve lined with a clean cloth or muslin – don’t push it through, that will cloud the jelly; be patient and let it drip.

  • Step 3

    Weigh the juice, then calculate 65% of that weight in sugar. Pour the juice into the pan along with the sugar and vinegar or lime juice and bring back to the boil.

  • Step 4

    Boil hard for 15-30 minutes or until the liquid has thickened to a syrup and reached 105C on a jam thermometer – it can take up to 40 minutes to get to this point, so be patient. If you don’t have a thermometer, do the wrinkle test: add a tsp of the jelly onto a fridge-cold plate and leave to cool for 30 seconds-1 minute; the jelly should form a skin, and wrinkle when pushed with a finger; this is when you know the jelly has set, and passes the ‘wrinkle test’. Stir in the chilli, ginger and mint.

  • Step 5

    Once you’re happy, pour a third of the syrup into a clean jar and put it in the fridge. Allow the syrup in the pan to settle for 10 minutes to start becoming jelly – this way you won’t end up with all the bits floating to the top. Tip the rest into the jar and allow it to set. Cover the surface with a circle of baking paper, seal with a lid and keep it in the fridge. It lasts for three months.

Feeling inspired to start preserving more fruit? Try our pear and vanilla jam recipe

Pear and vanilla jam images

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