I’ve decided that this week is going to be Apple Week, with all posts about apples!
When I was a child, my family made cider to sell in our farm market from apples in our orchard. My mom, brothers and I would help bottle the cider while my dad, uncle and grandfather made cider using the fancy press. Later on, another uncle would come pick up the pumice (waste apple flesh) to feed to his cows. It’s funny to think of it now, because I really hated cider. Back then, bottling cider meant sticky hands and clothes, noisy equipment, and bees… bees everywhere, though I don’t remember ever getting stung. Today when I opened my gallon of cider to make this recipe, the smell of the cider brought me right back to the cider mill. I can look back on it fondly now, laughing at the stickiness, and realizing just how lucky I was to help make cider with my family. I’ll think of it every time I use this jelly.
This is the first time I’ve tried this recipe, but it’s been lingering in my mind since last fall. I love jelly, but I hate the hours it takes to prep the fruit, cook and strain it. Since this recipe starts with cider, someone else has done all the work and those steps are eliminated. These days, it’s pretty rare to find unpasteurized cider around here, since fears of E. coli abound. However, if you have a trusted farm stand who does not use drops (apples that fell on the ground) there’s really no chance of E. coli being in the cider. If you’ve never tried unpasteurized cider, you’re missing out on a distince flavor, but keep in mind that it won’t keep as long as pasteurized cider. This recipe will work with either unpasteurized or pasteurized cider. This is a traditional jelly recipe, but I’ve also got a reduced-sugar version.
- 5 cups apple cider
- 1 package powdered pectin
- 1 tsp butter
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 7 cups sugar
- Sterilize jars in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes. Ladle some of the boiling water over the lids in a bowl. Let them sit in the hot water until they’re ready to use.
- Pour the apple cider into a large pot and slowly stir in the pectin. Add the butter, and bring the mixture to a rapid boil that cannot be stirred down.
- Add the cinnamon and sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and skim the foam.
- Fill the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Place the lids and screw on the rings, then process for 10 minutes.