Apple and Rose Hip jelly is one of my oldest recipes, passed down from my Welsh cousin Rhoda. She also used the same recipe, replacing the rose hips with blackberries gathered from the hedgerow in the lane behind her house - intense blackberry flavour without any pips.
- rose hips
- juice of 1 lemon
Wash the apples and cut them up roughly, leaving the peel and cores. Windfalls are OK. Just remove any bruised bits. Wash the rose hips, removing any stems and loose spiky bits. For this batch of jelly I used a preserving pan almost full of apples with a layer of a couple of centimetres of rose hips on top.
Add water to the top of the fruit. Place your hand on the fruit to prevent it floating. You want enough water to extract the flavours and the pectin but not so much that the jelly won't jell.
Cook gently till the fruit is soft. Some varieties of apples go quite pulpy. That’s OK. Get your jelly bag organised. We own a proper one with loops that fit over a metal hoop. However, as it only copes with fairly small quantities of jelly, this time I used the time honoured method of a thin cotton tea towel attached by rubber bands to the legs of an upside down chair. It works perfectly!
Place a bowl underneath the base of the bag/tea towel to catch the juice. Ladle the pulp into the jelly bag and leave it to drip. Overnight is fine.
Do not squeeze the bag or the jelly will be cloudy. Measure the juice using a cup and return it to the preserving pan or saucepan with the strained juice of a lemon.
Bring to the boil. Meanwhile measure the sugar, cup for cup, i.e. if you had 12 cups of juice you need the same amount of sugar. Place the sugar in a baking dish and warm it in the oven. Add the warmed sugar to the juice and stir well. Skim off any scum.
Cook till the jelly tests for setting, i.e. add a spoonful to a saucer and place it in the freezer for 5 minutes. If it sets, your jelly is ready to bottle. You may need to repeat the test several times before setting point is reached.
To prepare your jam jars, wash then warm them in the oven at 100°C. Fill the jars with the very hot jam, putting the lids on as you do so. If you have recycled jars (e.g. from cream cheese spread) after about 30 minutes you will hear a series of pops as they seal.