Once home and cozily in for the night, we went through the paces of the evening's comforting routines and soon enough Baby was fast asleep and I was in the kitchen making another variation of a Ferber jelly recipe. The recipe was for Apple Cider and Vanilla, but being as I had no vanilla, I used cardamom. Now, vanilla is super expensive and I am super broke, but I would have splurged for it. I shopped a few stores and do you know only one store had it in? At 3.99 for two in a test tube? I stuck with my cardamom. It was in stock, in my cupboard. I loved the soft spicy note that cardamom gave the jelly. This would do well on a hot scone, but equally well on a pork roast. Wintry days, we are prepared!
1 3/4 pounds of Granny Smith apples
3 cups 2 ounces water
3 cups 2 ounces cider
5 cups of sugar
2 Tbsp. of lemon juice
13 cardamom seed pods, whole
Chop apples into quarters and place in a good, heavy pot with the water. Once it boils, let it simmer on low for a half hour until the apples are quite soft. Then filter the juice through a sieve with a fine mesh, a chinois if you will, pressing lightly on the fruit. I like to leave this for a few hours to take its time. Then filter a second time through cheesecloth; it's best to do this overnight in the fridge. I used coffee filters in a mesh colander and it worked fine.
Measure 2 cups 1 ounce of the juice leaving sediment at the bottom. (Note: I only had a little over a cup, so I added water to make the asked for amount.) Add this to the sugar, cider and lemon juice in to your good pot and bring to a boil, then add the seed pods.
Now, about jelly, you know, it's not just jam. It's a little fussier, so keep an eye on it. I highly recommend a candy thermometer because testing for the jelling point is difficult. You want to bring the heat up to 220 degrees. Skim it good; it's not like jam where the foam sometimes disappears. It's persistent foam!
Pour the hot liquid into your hot jars, that just happened to be in the boiling water that you had waiting for processing. Seal them and process for ten minutes. (By process, I mean let them sit in boiling water for ten minutes.) Let them cool, listen for the pinging of the lids sucking themselves in, making a good seal. The jelly might take a day or a week to set. Mine had fuzziness in the jelly from the cider breaking down in the jelly. I don't mind this at all, but some might, so just skim as much as you can. I don't think it's possible to avoid and something inherent in cider, but who knows? I'm not really a stickler, so I might not ever find out.