All my life i have been blessed to be surrounded by good food and most important of all a Mother who knew how to cook it. This time of year brings out the best in me with memories of jam being made and potted, field mushrooms being cooked in butter and milk, being forced as a child to eat the first of the herring and the taste of crab apple jelly.
This taste above all others reminds me of my childhood and to this day I am possessive of how many pots of jelly I have in my cupboard for the winter months. (It is good to share the fruits of your labour but not this one I am afraid). So I will give you the time honoured recipe and you can make your own, but hurry the apples are disappearing fast...
Brigid Quinn's Crab Apple Jelly
4 lbs of Crab Apples
4 pints of water
6 whole cloves
juice of two lemons
Wash the apples and quarter them (do not remove the skin or pips) and put them in a stainless pot with the water, cloves and peel of the lemons. Cook until reduced to a pulp, about half a hour. Turn the pulp into a jelly bag and allow to drip until all the juice has been extracted. Overnight is ideal.
Measure the juice into a large pan and allow 1 lb of sugar to every pint of juice. Squeeze the lemons, strain the juice and add to the pot. Bring to the boil and add the sugar. Stir until it has dissolved. Boil rapidly without stirring for about 10 minutes. Skim off any scum that rises to the top. Test for setting and pot immediately.