Apple season at Weaver’s Orchard means the cider press is in full swing! In fact, since apples store so well during the winter months in our cold storage, we have a fresh supply of apples to keep the cider press running every year from around September to May.
There are two ways I’ve traditionally enjoyed apple cider: piping hot or refreshingly cold. But this week, I discovered an additional way: as a sweet apple cider jelly.
When it comes to making jelly, I’m definitely a beginner, so this recipe was perfect for me. No chopping of fruit, no straining of juice. You just take 5 cups of apple cider, boil it with some spices, add sugar and pectin and put it in the fridge for two weeks or freeze it for up to a year. Or you can preserve it using the water bath canning method. It would make a tasty Christmas gift.
The finished product is light and sweet, tasting just like apple cider. Here are some ways to enjoy it:
- On top of pancakes or waffles
- Atop a toasted baguette with a slice of melted cheddar
- As a sandwich spread on grilled cheese, turkey, or roasted chicken sandwiches
- In this pizza (swap out apple cider jam for apple butter).
So… now that you have lots of ideas for how to use it, here is the recipe.
- 5 cups apple cider
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 strip lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon whole cloves
- ⅛ teaspoon ginger
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1.75 oz. package low or no sugar needed powdered pectin
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- Add ¼ cup granulated sugar to the contents of the pectin package in a bowl.
- Mix remaining granulated sugar and brown sugar in another bowl.
- Bring the apple cider to a boil in a large pot, along with the cinnamon stick, lemon zest, cloves and ginger.
- Strain the cider into a bowl to remove the cinnamon stick, lemon zest and cloves. Return cider to pot. (You tie the spices into a cheesecloth instead, but this method is handy if you don't happen to have cheesecloth.)
- Once the apple cider boils, add the sugar-pectin mixture and let it come to a boil again, stirring constantly. Add the other sugar mixture and bring to a boil again. Boil for 1 minute.
- Pour into canning jars. If you plan to freeze the jelly, leave ¾ inch of space between the top of the jelly and the lid because the contents will expand as it freezes.
- Let cool. Refrigerate or freeze.