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As its name suggests, apple jelly is a thick fruit spread flavored with apples. It usually contains just a few key ingredients, is golden in color, and has a sweet flavor. Apple jelly can be used to top both sweet and savory foods. It is available in many stores and can also be prepared at home.
The main ingredients in most apple jelly recipes are apples, sugar, and lemon juice. Pectin, a thickening agent that serves as a key part of many fruit jellies, occurs naturally in apples, and thus is not needed when making apple jelly. Some cooks enhance their jelly’s apple flavor through the addition of spirits, such as brandy or bourbon, or aromatic spices and herbs, like cinnamon, cloves, or mint.
Normally, apple jelly is golden in color, and may be transparent or somewhat cloudy. In some cases, certain apple jelly variants, such as apple-mint jelly, are green in tone due to a coloring agent added during the production process. Like an apple, this type of jelly generally has a sweet taste with an undertone of tartness. As with most other fruit jellies, it can be spread on toast or used in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. The jelly also makes a good accompaniment to savory sandwiches, and can be used as a glaze when roasting meat, particularly pork.
In North America, it is possible to purchase apple jelly in most supermarkets as well as many specialty food stores. It is also fairly easy to prepare this jelly at home. In fact, many home cooks find that making jelly is a simple way to use up lots of apples that might otherwise spoil.
When making apple jelly at home, the first step is cleaning, de-stemming, and roughly chopping whole apples, and then boiling them until they have softened. Next, the boiled apples are drained and left overnight in a strainer set over a bowl. On the following day, the apple juice that has accumulated in the bowl is combined with sugar and lemon juice in a large pot, and heated until it reaches approximately 220 degrees Fahrenheit (104 degrees Celsius), the point at which the mixture will begin to set. Once the jelly has reached this temperature, it can be cooled and consumed immediately, or sealed in sterile jars and allowed to rest for several months so that its flavors can develop.