Saturday, July 4, 2009

Rhubarb and Apple Jelly...

... Is Delicious
even if i do say so myself. Which is very lucky as i gave it as one of the bonbonierre gifts at our wedding that was in april :) (i also made two other preserves, but more about that later when i locate the sweet photos i took - possibly with my mums camera)

we went to the orchard down in darkes forest. An undertaking i highly recommend if you are ever in need of 10kg of fresh apples and 3 kg of lovely plums for a very reasonable sum.(Find them here Glenbernie Orchards
the recipe included

3kg apples (per batch)
1 big bunch of rhubarb
about 2.5 kg sugar
3 lemons

first step - to cut the apples and rhubarb into large pieces. this is going to be strained later, so no need to worry about the look of the fruit, its all about the juice. then put all of the fruit into an enormous saucepan with enough water to just cover.

Once the fruit is in, boil it until it becomes mushy. Make sure that you give it plenty of room in case it froths, but it should be fine at this stage. lemon juice can also be added and if you wish drop a cinnamon stick in for a short time

Looks ugly now, but wait it gets better :)
Strain you mixture through a jelly bag, or a muslin cloth (or other clean fabric which is a loose weave) you want to only collect the juice, otherwise you could end up with a cloudy jelly. Leave to hang for as long as you have patience - overnight if possible. You should end up with a big bowl of delicious pink juice.

(note my hanging technique - an upended stool can be a very useful tool in jelly making)
Once you have strained this glorious pink essence, you just put it back on the stove with an enormous amount of sugar. i used a bit more than 3/4 cup sugar per cup of fruit, otherwise i find it too sugary. stir to dissolve and then boil it hard until it reaches setting point.
fresh apples will set very well - heaps of pectin :) the lemon juice also helps to draw the pectin out. It is during this stage that the jelly will -
a) froth up very high, so make sure you use the enormous pot again
b) become clear, but impurities will come to the surface, you need to skim these
c) smell delicious
while warm pour carefully into jars (in my case tiny cute jars), tighten lids, and upturn to form a seal. ta daaa! apple and rhubarb jelly!