Another jelly? Could it be that I’m becoming a jelly fiend like someone else we know? Not bloody likely, but, I do like how this one came out. With the extra acid from a full sliced lemon, it took a little less sugar than the apple quince jelly to yield a gel. The set is a little more firm, but still satisfyingly squishy, almost, but not quite, the set of a marmalade. Not surprising as the poached lemon peel in the jelly gives it a marmalade-esque flavor as well. The lavender infused the jelly with a nice floral undertone without making you feel like you’re eating potpourri for breakfast. All in all, a pretty good experiment.
And yet, jelly, even nicely squishy jelly, just isn’t my thing. I can moan and groan over a slow-cooked berry jam, wax rhapsodic over a macerated whole fruit preserve, or cover everything in sight with a boozy fruit sauce, but jelly? Always seems like, well, jelly. A little too sweet, a little too stiff, a little too… gelatinous. (Yes, yes, I know, hence the term “jelly.” I have issues.) Despite my gelophobia, I do like this one: it nicely straddles the line between savory & sweet, and would be equally at home on toast as in glazing a chicken, duck or dare I say? A turkey. Maybe I should have made another batch.
Inspired by Apple with Lemon and Chestnut Honey in Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber
- 4 lbs apples to yield 4 cups apple juice (I used Ida Reds)
- 1 small lemon, preferably organic
- 3 tbsp lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
- 1 cup filtered water
- 1 tsp dried culinary lavender
- pinch salt
- 2 and 1/2 cups raw sugar (organic turbinado)
- Day 1. Scrub the apples, quarter, cut off stem and blossom ends, then place in a stockpot with cool filtered water just to cover. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat; lower heat and simmer until apples are soft, about 30 minutes. Strain apples through a jelly bag, or several layers of dampened cheesecloth, to collect juice. This is best done overnight so that any sediment in the juices will be able to fall to the bottom. Reserve the pulp for butter, sauce, or leather.
- Day 2. Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- Scrub the lemon well and slice into very thin rounds. Pick out any seeds (that do not fall out on their own) and spread slices in a single layer in a large preserving pot or Dutch oven. Add 1 cup water and poach lemon slices over medium heat until lemon rinds are transparent (timing depends on how thin you can make your slices; mine took about 15 minutes, but some slices remained stubbornly opaque). Add additional water if lemon slices begin to stick and caramelize.
- Add 4 cups of apple juice to the pot, along with lemon juice, lavender, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to boil hard, skimming foam occasionally, until jelly reaches the set point: 220 degrees F on an instant thermometer, or a small dollop on a frozen plate forms wrinkles after freezing for 1 to 2 minutes. Boil hard at the set point for 1 minute, then turn off heat. Ladle hot jelly into hot jars; fill to 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Yields about 4 cups.
- If you would prefer not to have lavender buds in your jelly, you can simmer the apple juice with the dried lavender, in a sachet or tea ball, for about 5 minutes. Strain then use the infused juice in your recipe.
- I think a sliced orange would be nice here as well; however, I believe that the lemon juice helps the set, so if you substitute the lemon with a sliced orange, keep the 3 tbsp of lemon juice.
Canned, in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerated, use within 2 months.
Fall into winter.