Category Archives: Apples

Guest Post: Making Apple Pectin (Also Known as Apple Jelly Stock) with Katie

On a recent visit to a friend’s new home, I was inspired to make apple pectin from green apples I thinned from one of the many mature fruit trees on the property.

Since I hadn’t tried it before and I was without my usual go-to kitchen resource, The Joy of Cooking, I searched online for a recipe and was rewarded with many variations on a basic theme, below.

The approximately fifteen pounds of green apples I picked made one gallon of apple liquid. The homeowner and I each got two quarts. I may make a sweet cherry & apple jam or perhaps a pepper jelly with my portion. Either sounds plenty tasty and worth the minimal effort of processing those otherwise unwanted green apples.


Put washed green apples in a stock pot with enough filtered water to make the fruit float. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring regularly to avoid scorching. The fruit will quickly soften to a pulp, but keep simmering until the liquid is amber colored. Strain the pulp through a metal colander lined with cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve. Don’t rush it and press the pulp or your final product will be cloudy. Refrigerate straining pulp overnight. In the morning, use the clear liquid as-is, or reduce to your desired consistency, to help set low-pectin preserves. You can also process it in a water bath canner to use at a later date. Due to time constraints, I chose to refrigerate the liquid with the intention of using it soon.

Although this recipe is not from either resource below, I am continually inspired by
Grow Your Own, Eat Your Own: Bob Flowerdew’s Guide to Making the Most of your Garden Produce All Year Round and The 1997 Joy of Cooking.

The 2007 edition of Joy is handy for all preserves and the 1997 edition for everything, and I honestly mean everything, else.

Thanks for the opportunity to contribute to!



**Note, when I make mine I quarter and core the apples but don’t peel them. I use green apples around mid summer or early July so the pectin levels are still high, or crabapples or granny smith if it’s winter time. I cook them for 30 minutes, then strain the liquid and make sauce with the pulp. Once strained, I boil the liquid until it becomes viscous and syrupy. Times will vary depending on how much pectin is in the apples and how much you have. At that point I freeze the pectin until I need it for a jelly or jam recipe. ~Annette

April Can Jam – Herbs in Jars

This month’s can jam challenge was herbs that must be water bath processed. We’re still sitting on a lot of pickles and I don’t really have any seasonal veggies right for pickling right now but I do have a monster rosemary bush (honestly, it’s devious) and a huge box of rotting apples in the garage that I need to get off my butt and process. I made up some apple jelly to preserve my rosemary for posterity’s sake. Or for a nice pork loin, whichever comes first.

I’ve always wanted to make apple jelly and still have it on my list of things to do from last October that had somehow slipped behind the espresso maker and lay there out of sight until last week. Kizmet, no?

I thought my friend Joshua was brilliant last fall bringing lavender plum jam to the canning barter party so I can’t wait to pull this out in October. “Oh, just a little something I whipped up.” I’ll say nonchalantly.

Here’s the incredibly cool thing about apples – they are super high in pectin. Boy do I feel dumb sitting on a 1# bag of Pomona’s pectin that I bought when I first had this wild hair to grow or put up all our food. I thought I was so smart buying it in bulk for all the preserves I make. But then after rhubarb and strawberry season were over I realized I could make old fashioned preserves by either cooking stone fruit sufficiently to gel or by making my own pectin from apples. I made tomato, blackberry, apricot, plum, peach and jalapeno jams and jellies plus the orange and lemon rosemary marmalade for can jam in January all without pectin.

At least I can use my Pomona’s pectin to make homemade jello.

As apples come back into season I’ll be posting on how to make pectin from apples that you can use to make other preserves. I planted an early crab apple tree just for cider and pectin. Am I nutty or what? But on to this recipe.

Making apple jelly is simple but it does take a longer boil than you might be used to if you’ve only ever used store-bought pectin.

I’m basing these measurements loosely on those from The Herbfarm Cookbook which is a personal favorite of mine.

Herbed Apple Jelly

4 pounds organic unripe or tart apples, washed with skins on
8 cups filtered water

Cook the apples in the water at a simmer for about 45 minutes until they begin to fall apart. Line a colander with a porous tea towel or cheesecloth. Place the colander over a deep pot. Pour in the apples and let them drain for about 6-8 hours without pressuring it.

Discard the apples and place the pan with the apple liquid on the stove. Add 3 cups of sugar and bring it to a boil. Boil it until you hit the gel stage.

The gel stage is essentially that mysterious point where you’ve managed to boil out enough of the water to allow your mixture to set up, although it’s not exactly that simple. It’s not as simple as reaching a certain temperature because you might hit it before you reach that temperature depending on altitude and weather, all related to the boiling point of water. More on that here for you geeky types.

To test the gel stage you’ll want to have a cooled plate in the fridge waiting. I usually start checking for gel around 205 degrees Fahrenheit and then check every 5 or 10 minutes thereafter. When making this apple jelly my thermometer never registered above 205 yet at some point it hit gel stage regardless of the temperature not climbing.

Remove your chilled plate from the fridge and pour a small amount of liquid onto it then return the plate to the refrigerator. After 1 or 2 minutes remove it. If you can wipe a line through the liquid with your finger that remains you are there. If the liquid runs right into your newly made line and fills it up then you need to cook the jelly longer.

There are several other ways to tell you’ve hit gel stage as well, including pouring liquid off the spoon and gauging the shape it makes as it pours (it’s ready when it “sheets”) but the plate method is the easiest for you to replicate without seeing pictures of sheeting liquid.

Once you’ve hit gel stage pour your hot jelly into sterilized half pint jars and insert a sprig of your herb of choice, then water bath process for 5 minutes.

Note: inserting the sprig works great with woody herbs such as lavender, rosemary or thyme. If you are using a tender herb you may want to steep it in the jelly for 15 minutes before removing it and canning the jelly. A more tender herb would likely break down in the jelly over time, making it unattractive.

How will I use this jelly? I’ll probably use it as a glaze for pork, chicken or winter squash. It would also be great spread on crackers with Camembert.

Tonnemaker Apple Quince Tall Tart


You can make this using a deep pie dish or use a spring form pan to make a tall tart as I have done. For a deep dish pie use the lesser quantities of fruit and thickener I’ve listed, the larger quantities are enough to fill a high-sided spring form pan about 3/4 of the way up.

This crust is so forgiving that I started to roll it out, stopped to sort some one’s squash order, helped the kids with something and then gathered some boxes up for a neighbor who stopped by. By the time I got back to the crust it was sticky and soft but I was able to press it into the pan using moist fingers. This is truly the most forgiving pie crust I can think of.


Tonnemaker Apple Quince Tall Tart

  • Recipe for shortbread crust
  • 2 to 4 prepared quinces
  • 5 to 7 apples – I prefer tart ones with a well rounded flavor like pink lady, any of the pippins or granny smith. By combining several varieties of apples you’ll get a more interesting tart.
  • 2/3 cup organic sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons tapioca granules or organic cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg or mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest or Rockridge Orchards apple cider vinegar
  • Preheat the oven to 400 F

    Divide the pastry crust into two balls, returning one to the refrigerator. Roll the other out on a lightly floured surface. Rolling the dough out in between two floured silpats will make this even easier. Line a 9″ pie plate with the crust and chill it while you prepare the filling ingredients. Alternatively you can roll out 3/4 of the dough and line a tall spring form cake pan.

    In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients including the quince slices. One by one peel the apples, halve them and scoop out the cores using a melon baller. This makes short work out of a laborious process and you can fly through them since you aren’t concerned with cutting yourself with a knife. Slice the apples thinly and add them to the mixing bowl as they become done.

    Allow the filling to sit in the bowl for 10 minutes so the apples start to juice and the tapioca can soften.

    After your filling has started to juice carefully arrange the fruit in the prepared crust-lined pan then dot the top with butter.

    Roll out the remaining pie crust and cut out patterns in it using small cookie cutters or a shot glass, then arrange the cookies on the top of the crust, slightly overlapping where you’ve cutout. If you are making the a tall tart simply arrange the cutout shapes on top of the butter dotted filling. If you want to be extra fancy you can brush the top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of organic sugar.

    Bake the tart or pie for 15 minutes at 400F until golden then reduce the heat to 350 F and bake another 15 minutes. After 15 minutes cover the top of the pie and continue cooking until the filling starts to bubble. It will probably take another 20 – 30 minutes for the deep dish pie and another 45-60 minutes for the tall tart.

    Experiment #643 – Apple Cider

    I’ve been wanting to make apple cider for almost as long as I’ve been wanting to render pork lard and finally got invited to make cider with my friends Cinda and Wally.

    Wally built his own cider press and the boxed garbage disposal that he uses to grind up the apples. It’s simple and brilliant. The apples are ground tout suite and then slide down a length of pipe into a waiting 5 gallon bucket.




    The press he made from hard wood and laminated Formica onto the surfaces that would touch the apples. Wally places a frame on the bottom of the press, covers it with cheese cloth and then pours the ground apples in. He folds up the cheesecloth and places wooden slats over to hold it in place. He then repeats another layer of apples in cheesecloth.



    He then places wooden blocks and what appeared to be a car jack to achieve constant pressure and “press” the juice out of the apples.


    After this he ran the juice through cheesecloth one last time to filter out any remaining sediment.

    In the end I got about 2 gallons of cider from roughly 25 pounds of apples. I started one quart as hard cider by leaving it on the counter for a few days until it started to bubble. At this point you can move it to a garage for a week or two to become even more alcoholic, then cap it and move it to the fridge to stop that process.

    I’m also making a ginger bug to carbonate some for the kids. We’ve drank quite a bit fresh and the final gallon I’m saving to spice and take with us when we go chop down our Christmas tree with Grandma.

    Thanks Cinda and Wally!