Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Grape Jelly ... and Crabby Apples

Last week, I took an evening and turned grapes into juice. How? Well, the normal way and since I have already blogged about it for the last 2 years.. you can travel back in time to see what fun I had last year actually harvesting grapes and making over 100 bottles of grape jelly for Breast Cancer. Oh, and the very first time I made it in 2007.
After making all the juice, it sat in the fridge for a few days until I had time to make jelly out of it. This year, Terry helped me. This is the first time he has ever participated in a jam making day. He helps with almost everything, but it just never seemed to be good timing for jam days. He knew I was a little overloaded and decided to pitch in.
What a blast that was... He did all the stirring and for anyone who makes jam, that stirring keeps you chained to the stove and you can't do anything. With him doing all the stirring, I was able to prepare jars, clean dishes as we used them, got out the racks, .. all the things you forget to do, or can't reach while your stirring.
We made 3 batches in a little over an hour but the funnest part was how much Terry enjoyed making it. He was all geared up at this point, and wanted to make something else into Jelly. We do have a crab apple tree. It has a funny beginning, really, and its destine to be cut down this fall. But 10 years ago, we planted a Cortland tree and a Macintosh tree in our back yard.
growing apples, you need two trees for the pollination stuff.
Our Cortland only lived about 5 years, and then for some reason, it fell over, I can't remember why. But the base of the tree was still in the ground and the next spring, the stump
of the tree had a shoot come up and it grew profusely. Now, a little bit of a useless fact for you guys, (but important for this tale). Most apple trees purchased from nurseries are mass produced and usually what happens is a limb of a "real" apple tree is grafted onto a crab apple tree trunk. They are more sturdy and resist diseases better than most trees.
Well, our new little shoot grew faster than any other tree I have ever seen, and produced little soft apples the second year it lived. That's when we realized that it was the little crab apple tree that grew from the non-grafted part of our original tree.
6 years (guessing here) later, this summer, we noticed that the base of the tree is rotting, and being a somewhat scraggly tree anyway, we decided to cut it down this fall. Of course, it produced tons of little apples this summer, just to make me feel bad for wanting to cut it down.
Well, Terry thought it would be fun to make some Jelly from the apples (which are quite TART, because we tried one earlier in the fall). Here is the harvest.... exactly 3 quarts...
The recipe called for us to chop off the bloom bottom and pull the stems off the apple. Then chop in small pieces,(leaving on the skin and skins) add 6 cups of water to the pot and boil for 10 minutes. Then, we had to mash them, and then boil again for 5 minutes.
Then we put the mush in a jelly bag to let it drip for an hour or so.
We got a pretty pink sort of merky juice, but I didn't have much hope it would look apple jelly that I was use to seeing in stores.
Oh well... we forged ahead and got right to making the merk into jelly. As it boiled, it started to clear up and by the time we were ready to put it in jars..
. it was this delicious looking pink jelly... soooo cute....
Our final harvest for the week... 24 jars of grape jelly and 9 jars of crab apple jelly..


GailM. said...

I love that the apple jelly is so pink. What makes us do it. I'm the same. It's so much work, but it's so rewarding. I wish I had some grapes to make grape jelly. I've never made that before.

Anonymous said...

And the apple jelly is delicious - thanks for sharing Donna!!


Anonymous said...

You know someone I live with will want some of this after reading this post.. he's a Donna jelly addict. KofO