I am still delving deep into my big jute bag that is holding all my windfall apples. I keep looking at them, expecting there to be a large empty gap, but no - there are still so many that I am still wondering what to do with them all.
The year before last, I took bags of windfall apples into work for colleagues to take home and make apple crumble or apple pie. This year I decided not to, as I know they would not have been appreciated by them. They would have turned their noses at the imperfections on them: such as the wonky shape, the bruises and speckled skin. So it was up to me to save these 'damaged' apples from rotting and going to the compost bin and turn them into pretty Appley goodness. In my tiny kitchen began the magic, with the clattering of pots and the stirring of wooden spoons (and lots of washing up).
This time to come out of the kitchen were jars of Apple and chilli flakes jelly jam. I was happy with the result, but it was only after making them I began to worry. There were too many for just D and me to enjoy. I wondered who on earth would graciously accept them as gifts as not every one I know likes spices, but as soon as I mentioned this particular flavoured apple jelly to family and friends, they all laid claim to a jar. Phew. I was pleased or should I be nervous as they haven't exactly tasted it. The chilli heat may just knock their socks and blocks off!
I know exactly what I am going to do with my jar of Apple and chilli jelly, an idea planted in my head by fellow blogger friend Nic of Nip it in the Bud. She suggested using some of the jellies to make hot drinks to chase away the stinky sniffly cold. She wrote a little while ago 'I bet your chilli jam would show the germs who's boss!' I think its a fantastic idea and one that will be deployed rather quickly.
If you click on the photograph, you will note that there are zillions of air pockets. This is because I poured the Apple and chilli flake jelly rather too quickly into the jars. Looks pretty good though.
Apple and chilli flakes jelly jam
Makes 5 - 6 x 245ml jars
1.8kg (4lbs) cooking apples, remove any bruised bits, otherwise just chop all of it, keeping skin, core and pips
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
450 g of granulated sugar for every pint of juice obtained
1 teaspoon chilli flakes for every pint of juice obtained or to taste
In a large preserving pan, put in the chopped apple pieces, lemon juice and cover with just enough water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 30 minutes until soft. Mash thoroughly to extract as much juice as possible. Strain through a jelly bag or muslin-lined nylon sieve, set over a large bowl. Do not press the fruit or squeeze the bag as this will make the jelly cloudy. Leave until the dripping stops. This may take several hours or even overnight. I tend to leave it overnight. Next, measure the liquid and return it to the pan along with 450g sugar for each pint of liquid. Stir well over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in chilli flakes. Increase the heat and boil rapidly for 10 -15 minutes. Test your jam for a set — setting point is 105C (220F). If necessary, boil for longer and keep testing, until the jelly has reached setting point. Remove the pan from the heat, skim off the scum with a ladle and allow to cool a little. Carefully pour into hot, sterilised jars. Seal the jars and allow the jelly to cool completely before labelling and storing.