Cooking time 45 minutes + overnight
Makes about 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz)
1 kg (2 lb 4 oz) granny smith apples
3/4 cup loosely packed (15 g/1/2 oz) young sage leaves
1/2 cup (125 ml/4 fl oz) lemon juice
3 cups (750 ml/26 fl oz) water
1 cup (220 g/73/4 oz) white granulated sugar
extra 1/4 cup firmly packed (10 g/1/4 oz) shredded young sage leaves
1 Chop the apple including the peel and core. Put into a sturdy wide-based pan with the whole sage leaves, lemon juice and water.
2 Bring slowly to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the apples are pulpy. Squash the apples with a potato masher or wooden spoon to break up any lumps.
3 Rinse a double layer of muslin (cheesecloth) in hot water and suspend over a bowl. Pour the apples and liquid into the muslin and let the liquid drain overnight. Do not press the solids or the juices will be cloudy; simply let the juices drip.
4 Next day measure the reserved apple liquid (discard the pulp) and for each 1 cup (250 ml/9 fl oz) of liquid measure out 1 cup (220 g/73/4 oz) of sugar.
5 Put both into the pan and stir over a gentle heat until the sugar dissolves.
6 Increase the heat and boil rapidly, stirring often, for 20 minutes and then start testing for the setting point.
7 Remove any froth with a spoon. When you are satisfied with the set, add the shredded sage and stir gently into the jelly without making too many bubbles.
8 Pour immediately down the sides of clean warm jars (to prevent bubbles) and seal. Turn the jars upside down for 2 minutes, then invert and leave to cool.
9 Label and date the jars. Keep the jars in a cool dark place for 6–12 months and refrigerate after opening.
1 Other fresh herbs such as small tender rosemary, mint, parsley, basil, savory, tarragon or thyme can be used.
2 Don’t panic if your jelly doesn’t set after 24 hours. Tip it back into a pan, melt it down and cook until it passes the setting test. Often 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, dry sherry, whisky or brandy added before the jam is re-boiled, helps. Sweet jellies can be melted and served as a dessert sauce, perhaps thinned slightly with a little liqueur and savoury jellies can be brushed over grilled lamb or fish or stirred through hot vegetable dishes.
Recipes and Images from Apple Blossom Pie, by Kate McGhie, published by Murdoch Books