By Barbara Collins

My neighbour has a glut of crab apples this year, so rather than let the crows peck them; I have given them a good home in this truly scrumptious preserve. Crab apple jelly has been made for centuries and it’s as good on hot buttered toast as it is heated with a little water and pouted over vanilla ice-cream. This recipe makes 6 x 500ml jars, but you can scale it up or down as you see fit. I made stacks so I can repay my neighbours’ kindness. People love edible gifts.


4 kg crab apples
1 kg caster sugar
1 lemon, juiced

Wash the apples, removing any bruised fruit. Put in a saucepan; fill with water to just cover the apples.
Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is soft (about 30 minutes). 
Pour the pulp into a colander lined with a clean J cloth and let drip overnight into a pan. Do NOT squeeze the bag or it will make the juice cloudy.

The next day, measure the juice, and add sugar in the ratio of 10 parts juice to 7 of sugar. Add some lemon juice, and then bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. 

Keep at a rolling boil for 40 minutes, skimming off the froth. To test the set, chill a saucer in the freezer and when you put a bit of the jelly on it, it should wrinkle when you push it with your finger. If not, put it back on the heat.

Pour into warm, sterilised jars and tightly seal while still slightly warm. Store in a cool dark place.


You can add a cinnamon stick or cloves to the mix, but remember to take them out before you put the jelly into jars. You can be really fancy and tie a stick of cinnamon to the jar with twine if it’s a gift.

Contact Barbara @thegoodchinaset or on [email protected]

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