Thursday, May 22, 2014

Compost Heap Jelly

(yield about 5 four ounce jars) adapted from The River Cottage Preserves Handbook p 41 and 83 and borrowed from

Optional spice bag:
1 stick cinnamon
1" piece of ginger root, bruised
5 whole cloves
5 whole allspice

1 pound, 2 ounces apple cores and peel
1 pound, 2 ounces citrus fruit peel (unwaxed lemon, orange, grapefruit and/or lime), cut into about 3/8-inch shreds
Granulated sugar
Juice of 1 orange, lemon, or grapefruit (optional)


Put the apple peel and the citrus peel into a saucepan. Add sufficient water to cover (you’ll probably need about 6 cups). Add optional spice bag, if using. Bring to a simmer and cook slowly for 45 to 60 minutes—this softens the fruit and releases the valuable pectin. Remove optional spice bag, if using. Turn the fruit into a jelly bag or piece of cheesecloth and leave overnight to drip. Squeezing the peel to get the juice out can cause your jelly to be cloudy, so resist the urge to squeeze the juice.

Measure the strained liquid and allow 1 cup of sugar for every cup of juice. Return the juice to the pan and add the orange, lemon, or grapefruit juice, if using. Bring to a boil, then add sugar. Stir until dissolved, then boil rapidly, without stirring, until the setting point is reached, about 10 minutes or so.

To test for setting point, use the crinkle or saucer test, dollop test, or temperature test.

Crinkle or saucer test: Drop a little jam onto a cold saucer. Allow to cool for a minute, then push gently with your fingertip. If the jam crinkles, the setting point has been reached

Dollop test: Dip a clean wooden spoon into the jam, hold it up over the pan, twirl it around a couple of times, then let the jam drop from the side of it. If the jam doesn’t run freely off the spoon but falls away in small drollops, the setting point has been reached.

Temperature test: Place a candy thermometer into the jam when it has reached a rolling boil. When it reads 220˚F, the setting point has been reached. Pectin rich fruits will set a degree or two lower (apples are high in pectin).

 Remove from heat and stir, always going in the same direction, until all the surface bubbles have disappeared. Pour into warm, sterilized jars and either swirl or tap the side of the jars to remove any remaining bubbles. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes.

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