Monday, August 21, 2017

Apple Jelly

Blogging through the August project backlog. Last week, I attempted to make Mrs. Beeton's Apple Jelly (II), and also started my first batch of apple cider vinegar.

Oak barrel for cider-making, twelve apples, and cutting board.
It begins.

The cider barrel is from Oak Barrels Ltd. Basically, I peeled and pared ten of the apples, set the apple-flesh on the stove to boil down, and put the cores/peels (and two whole chopped apples) in the barrel. The peels were covered with water, and set aside to form the vinegar (with a light cloth cover in place of the cork, so pressure doesn't build up).

Two tin pans of apples boiling on a wood-burning stove.
Boiling apples on Bessie.

After an hour, I strained the apple-mush through a cloth (which took forever, as I used muslin rather than cheese cloth or a hair sieve), mixed in sugar (about 2 1/4 cups for 3 cups of liquid), and set it to boil again. After 45 minutes, I took it off the stove and bottled it.

Apple Jelly from Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861)
Apple Jelly.
The stove wasn't quite hot enough, in my opinion, particularly during the final boiling phase. Not-at-all-coincidentally, the jelly didn't set properly.  It is very viscous, but even in the refrigerator it failed to fully solidify.

To improve for next time:
  • Hotter fire
  • Smaller jelly pots
  • Cheesecloth, sieve, or (imagine it!) a jelly bag for straining
  • Different saucepans.  The tin ones resisted cleaning, rather strenuously.
I'm still waiting on the vinegar, and look forward to the results.

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