Festive apple jellies

2 hours


Apple jelly base

  • 1.5kg cooking apples
  • 1l water
  • 900g of granulated sugar
  • 2 lemons, juice only

Chili jelly

  • 2 tsp chilli flakes, habanero

Rosemary jelly

  • 2 sprigs of rosemary


The day before serving, roughly chop the cooking apples (you don’t need to peel or core them). Put them in a large preserving pan with the water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for around 30–45 minutes, until the apples are soft enough to crush against the side of the pan with a spoon
Line a large measuring jug or bowl with a jelly bag, then pour the apple mixture into the bag. Suspend the bag over the bowl and leave it to drip overnight (I tie mine onto a broom handle or similar and rest it between two chairs over the bowl)
The next day, measure the amount of juice and pour it into a preserving pan. For every 600ml of juice, add 450g granulated sugar
Bring the juice and sugar to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When it has dissolved, add the lemon juice. If making the chilli jelly, add the chilli flakes at this stage. If making the rosemary jelly, add the rosemary sprigs
Put a small plate in the freezer (to test for a set later)
Simmer the jelly over a high heat, skimming off any scum that forms, for around 30–45 minutes or until it has reduced and become syrupy and golden
Preheat an oven to 120°C/gas mark 1/2
Meanwhile, sterilise your jam jars either by running the jars and lids through the dishwasher, or by washing them in hot soapy water and then putting the jars upside down in an oven for 30 minutes, and the lids in the same oven, upside down, for 5 minutes. Keep warm in the oven/dishwasher until the jelly is ready to pot
Test for a set by spooning a little of the jelly onto the cold plate from the freezer and leaving for a minute. If it separates and wrinkles when you push your finger through it, leaving a clear line, it’s ready
When it’s set, turn off the heat and leave the jelly for 10 minutes before ladling into the sterilised jars. You can remove any big pieces of rosemary from the rosemary jelly, but leave small needles – they look nice in the jar. Cover with wax discs and seal with the lids. Leave to cool before labelling