The humble crab apple makes a super tasty jelly. Try this extra-easy crab apple jelly recipe – no canning required!
Crab apples are often ignored as a food source in modern America, but in days past, they had a variety of uses – from animal feed to jelly, sauce, and even liquor similar to apple brandy. If you have access to a crab apple tree, instead of letting the fruit go to waste, make your own crab apple jelly! If you’re new to making jams and jellies, this is the perfect place to start.
Crab apples contain lots of their own pectin, so you don’t even need to add this to make jelly with them. This version is a refrigerator jelly, so it requires no canning. You can either refrigerate or freeze your finished product for future use. Crab apples have a delicious, tangy-sweet flavor that is hard to beat, and you’ll be amazed at what a tasty jelly you can make from a fruit that would otherwise just go to waste!
While this recipe is easy, it is also rather time-consuming due to the time spent chopping the apples, so be prepared to spend an afternoon – or recruit a few people to help you with the prep work, and then it will go much faster!
You can refrigerate this jelly for up to 3 weeks, or freeze it for longer storage and let sit in the fridge for a day to thaw before using. Feel free to omit the vanilla bean if you like – it will still turn out just as tasty!
Enjoy on toast, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, crackers, or with soft cheeses.
Besides the ingredients below, you will also need a candy thermometer, cheesecloth, and 2 half-pint jars (or 1 pint) with lids.
Easy Refrigerator Spiced Crab Apply Jelly
Prep Time: 2 Hours (for one person)
Cook Time: 30 Minutes
Yield: 2 Half-Pints
- Cut off the stems and blossom ends of the apples and chop into several pieces, leaving the core and seeds intact.
- Place the cut apple pieces into a pot or deep saucepan with the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean (if using) and just barely cover with water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the apples for 10 minutes.
- Lay a piece of cheesecloth in a colander and strain the liquid into a bowl. You should have about 2 cups of liquid.
- Discard the apple solids and pour the liquid back into the pot.
- Heat to a simmer and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Next, stir in the sugar and continue cooking and stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Using a candy thermometer, bring the liquid to 220 degrees F.
- Remove from the heat and pour the jelly into a clean pint glass Mason jar (or two half-pint jars), leaving at least 1/2 inch head room at the top.
- Screw on the lid(s) and let cool on the counter.
- Refrigerate (or freeze).