I first tried apple mint and rosemary jelly when I bought a jar from the Stawell Farmers Market at the showground many years ago. I loved it. That little jar was flecked with little pieces of mint. It was perfect served with both roast lamb and roast pork, so became a great accompaniment, better than either mint sauce or apple sauce which I never otherwise really bothered to have around.
I started making my own when I realised it would be the perfect use for the cores and skins left from making cider from wild apples foraged along country roads. These are both parts of the apple with high levels of pectin, and would otherwise often go to waste, but I end up with so many of them when juicing for cider.
It’s been several years since the wild apple trees around Canberra have born fruit, but my friend Sarah and I have had some wonderful outings foraging around town the past few weeks, harvesting all sorts of wild abundance, including a goodly volume of wild apples. So I am on track to catch up with my apple preserves and can now share with you my ‘recipe’ for apple, mint and rosemary jelly. I say ‘recipe’ but it’s more of a guide really.
I like to use a range of different apples from wild trees to give the jelly a well-rounded flavour. It works best with apples that are more on the tart side, than the sweet side. If you want, you can slowly collect your peels and cores from Granny Smiths and the like in a bag in the freezer as you eat through your regular apple collection.
These quantities are just guidelines, the recipe is based on ratios
|1||stock pot||apple peels and cores|
|2||sprigs||rosemary, plus garnish|
|apple cider vinegar|
Fill your pot with the cores and peels of apples. Cover water and boil for 1-2 hours, till the fruit falls apart. Add the herbs toward the end of the cooking. Turn off the heat.
Tip the contents of the cooking pot into a jam bag, or a sieve lined with a chux cloth, or a triple layer of muslin. Allow the liquid to naturally fall through into a clean pot. DO NOT press the fruit pulp, this will make your resulting jelly cloudy.
For every four parts of fruit liquid add one part cider vinegar (if you were using sweeter apples, you can use higher ratio of vinegar). Then, for every part liquid, add one part sugar.
Wash your jars in soapy water, rinse and place them in a warm oven to sterilise. Wash and rinse the lids and place them in a pot of simmering water. Leave them there till you’re ready to bottle.
Bring the mixture back to the boil. I use a thermometer to check if mine will set, but you can use whichever method you like. The jelly should set once it’s been bought to 104oC.
Bring your bottles out of the oven and pour the jelly into your sterilised jars. I like to add a sprig of rosemary at this stage, if you’d like to do that, make sure you’ve washed and dried it thoroughly. Place the lids on the jars and close tightly. I tip mine upside down to cool so the rosemary can be seen at the bottom of the jar, remember to turn them up the right way again before they go completely cold so the air bubble goes under the lid.