What to do with your crab apples: recipe for crab apple, orange & cider jelly


1.3kg tart cooking apples (mixed 1part Bramley apples with 2 part crab apple)

4 oranges

8 whole cloves

2 660ml bottles of medium sweet cider

water – see below

preserving sugar – see below


  • Wash and chop the apples.  Scrub oranges under hot water to remove wax then chop.  Add both to a preserving pan (or large heavy based saucepan) with the cloves, cider and enough water to barely cover the fruit.
  • Bring to the boil and cover and simmer gently for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour the fruit and juices into a sterilized jelly bag suspended over a large bowl.
  • Leave to drain for at least 4 hours or overnight until the juices stop dripping.
  • Measure the juice into a cleaned preserving pan.  Add 450g sugar for every 600ml of juice.
  • Heat mixture gently, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.  Boil rapidly for about 10 minutes until the setting point is reaches.  Remove from heat.
  • Skim any scum off the surface and pour the jelly into warmed sterilised jars.  Add the lid and seal.
  • Store in a cool dark place for at least 3 months- the longer it is stored the more developed the flavour.  Will store unopened for 2 years.  Once opened, store in the refrigerator.


  • Just to ensure set (alcohol can affect this) I substituted 100ml of pectin liquid (made from lemons) for water.   You could use crab apples that you know have high pectin to make the liquid.
  • Or you can use mix (2 parts/1part) of preserving/jam sugar or granulated/ jam sugar.
  • Makes about 12 small hex jars.
  • It is worth buying a good quality cider as it will affect the flavour.

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