Author Topic: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?  (Read 1172 times)

Morat

  • I tried to HTFU but something went ping :(
Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« on: November 19, 2018, 10:10:33 pm »
I'm having some problems with this :(
I've just been given a huge amount of crab apples, yellow ones which are actually quite sweet (I had assumed they'd be inedible like damsons or sloes) so I'm trying crab apple jelly which is turning out more like toffee apple jelly.
Does anyone have any advice? I was hoping for something more jam like and I'm getting apply syrup which doesn't really set. I'm also getting a really poor yield.

Here's the recipe I tried
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/7661/crab-apple-jelly
Tandem Stoker, CX bike abuser (slicks and tarmac) and owner of a sadly neglected MTB.

hellymedic

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Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2018, 01:36:03 am »
I've never made crab apple jelly.
I've only actually made microwave jam.

My guess is that your mix has too much water. It's also possible it's not quite acidic enough if the fruit is really ripe.

I'd suggest getting your apply syrup and boiling off some water in a microwave. Add a little more lemon juice. I would have thought there was enough pectin in an apple mix to ensure setting but maybe there isn't, in which case you'll need to add some, either from apple pulp or Certo. Jam needs to be around 66% sugar to set.

Test the boiling syrup on a cold plate to check setting.

It WILL happen...

ElyDave

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Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2018, 06:03:40 am »
Dilute it, add pectic enzyme, 24 hours later add yeast. Crab apple wine. :P
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2018, 06:06:25 am »
Whichever way you look at it, insufficient pectin for the mix is the answer. As helly says, you can either reduce the water, increase the pectin or both <demonstrates the "both" principle by wafting around  a jar of apple and blackcurrant which is VERY set, whilst hiding a jar of courgette and ginger behind his back which is still a little on the liquid side in order to retain his jam making credentials>

One thing, get thyself a jam making thermometer.  "toffee apple jelly" suggests that your mixture is getting too hot.


Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2018, 08:12:05 am »
I often have setting problems :o. Solved by making my own "pectin" and reboiling.  Take a couple of large Bramley's, chop up, put in pan with a small amount ot water and gently stew, covered, to a pulp - 15-20 minutes. Strain overnight through muslin, then add to liquid product and boil again. *holds up jar of marma-crete as evidence*
We are making a New World (Paul Nash, 1918)

Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2018, 08:24:46 am »
I'm having some problems with this :(
Here's the recipe I tried
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/7661/crab-apple-jelly

I make CAJ every year - we have a tree in the garden which produces many kg every year.  That's the recipe I use and I always get a good set, jelly, not runny or CAJ-crete!  I hate seeing good fruit go to waste, but there's no way I could find room for all the jars I could make, let alone eat it all or give it all away before next year.

I think the key is enough lemon juice, I use about 2 lemons per jam kettle, and use a thermometer.  Wait, wait, wait until it gets to 105C, then give it a bit more, then jar up.

I can rely on my CAJ to set well, but getting a reliable set on my marmalade and blackberry jam can be a bit hit and miss.  I've learned to watch the boil as it gets to 105C, there's a distinct change in the character of the boil, it goes clearer, a bit thicker, and is somehow distinct from the preceding boil character.  Once you've spotted that change, a good set is much more likely, IME.

Morat

  • I tried to HTFU but something went ping :(
Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2018, 07:16:02 pm »
Thanks all, it does make sense. I've had good results with Marmalade and Damson Jam but CAJ hasn't been kind.

I boiled a second batch last night and went to the other extreme - Crab Apple Toffee.

HAM, you're right about the thermometer. I've always used one in the past to stop me overshooting before testing for a set, but I've lost it somewhere in the boxes that we haven't yet unpacked after moving. I'll start digging!

And everyone else - yes, more pectin and more water wouldn't hurt. The crab apples are definitely ripe so I'll go with more lemon juice and possibly some cooking apples to try and get it to set like jam and not like toffee :)

I'll give it another go this weekend, all being well. Try try again, and all that.
Tandem Stoker, CX bike abuser (slicks and tarmac) and owner of a sadly neglected MTB.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2018, 08:07:29 am »
I've never had a problem. Those teeny apples are full of pectin, set great.

Nom nommity nom.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

hellymedic

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Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2018, 01:36:26 pm »
Isn't it cheating to demonstrate the set by rotating the image? ;)

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2018, 02:46:55 pm »
I rotated the table !  ;D
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Torslanda

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Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2018, 11:32:29 am »
Even more impressive is getting the tea to stay in the mug . . .
VELOMANCER

Well that's the more blunt way of putting it but as usual he's dead right.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2018, 02:53:50 pm »
Mug might have been empty. Jam jar evidently was not...

Morat

  • I tried to HTFU but something went ping :(
Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2018, 01:04:15 pm »
Thanks for the advice - it paid off :)

Batch three has set. I boiled the fruit much longer and released more juice. I think that also got more pectin out of the harder bits - but with a careful watch on the mixture during the second stage I was able to get to a crinkly set on a cold plate without the sugar taking over and making caramel. Yield was up too - 4.5lbs from 3Kg of fruit if you'll excuse the mixed units.

The best news is that it is utterly delicious, with just a hint of bite from the lemon juice. Overall this has been my most challenging jam to date. With having to strain the fruit overnight the batch size is limited which slows things down. Also, I was expecting Crab Apples to be bitter and full of pectin and therefore easy to preserve like Damsons. I don't know anything about crab apple varieties but these are yellow, taste almost exactly like normal eating apples and seem to have less pectin than a Damson. Still, it worked out. I gave the tree owner a couple of jars and he's very pleased to let me have all I can use next year.
Tandem Stoker, CX bike abuser (slicks and tarmac) and owner of a sadly neglected MTB.

Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2018, 01:35:39 pm »
I have an issue, that is I've been making loadsa jam this year (more than last, tbh, and I still have from the previous year) and I don't actually use much. My favourite is courgette and ginger which does service in replacement for marmalade, but the marmalade stocks aren't going down as a result. I haz a jam mountain.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Crab Apple Jelly - any experts?
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2018, 05:25:09 pm »
I has a jam mountain AAW and several kg of unused jam sugar.

But my waistline has improved...