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A close up of shining, jewel-like crab apple jelly in a small dish.
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4.84 from 24 votes

Crab Apple Jelly

This delicious crab apple jelly recipe is perfect for the beginner preserver. Traditionally served with pork, this traditional treat is equally good on toast. 
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Straining12 hrs
Total Time12 hrs 55 mins


  • crab apples - (see recipe for quantities)
  • water - (see recipe for quantities)
  • sugar - (see recipe for quantities)


Preparing the Fruit

  • Wash the crab apples and cut in half, cutting off any bruises. Place in a large pan and add water to cover ¾ of the fruit. Bring to the boil. Then put the lid on the pan and gently simmer for about 40 minutes until the fruit has turned to a pulp.
  • Hang a jelly bag or cloth securely from a stand, with a large bowl underneath the bag. Using a jug, pour the fruit pulp and liquid into the bag and leave to strain for 12 hours. Do not poke, prod or push the pulp to speed the straining, as this will make the finished jelly cloudy.

Making the Jelly

  • Put your jam jars and lids in the oven heated to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1 to warm and sterilize them. If using the wrinkle test for setting, place a plate in the freezer.
  • Weigh the strained juice and add an equal weight of sugar.
  • Gently simmer in a large pan to dissolve the sugar. As the juice simmers, foam and scum will rise to the surface. Skim this off with a slotted spoon to remove impurities and keep the jelly clear. Keep a large bowl of cold water next to the hob to rinse the spoon off.
  • Turn up the the heat When the liquid has reached a rolling boil, start testing for the set by one of these three methods.

Testing the Setting Point

  • The wrinkle method. Chill a plate in the freezer. Spoon a teaspoon of the boiling jelly onto the plate and let it cool; this will only take a few seconds. Push your finger through the jelly and look for it to wrinkle ahead of your finger.
  • Temperature. Use a jam thermometer to test for when the jam reaches 105°C.
  • The flake test. Test the jelly by taking a spoonful of jelly – a long-handled metal spoon is best. Tip up the spoon to pour the jelly back into the pan, and watch the behaviour of the last few drops. When the last drops hang off the spoon in a flake, the jelly has reached its setting point.

Finishing the Jelly

  • Once setting point is reached, remove the jelly from the heat and take the warm jars and lids from the oven. Give the jelly one last skim to remove the foam and scum.
  • Let the jelly stand for a few minutes. Then pour the jelly into the jars, quickly skim each jar using a tea spoon and seal down with the dry lids while still hot.
  • As the jars cool, each lid will pop to show that they're sealed properly – I always find this most satisfying to hear as I enjoy my tea and first taste!
• Please note that the nutrition information provided below is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
• Unless stated otherwise cup conversions have been made with an online tool. For accuracy please check with your favoured conversion tool. We recommend buying inexpensive digital kitchen scales.
Course: Jams and Preserves
Cuisine: British, Preserving
Keyword: Crab Apple Jelly