Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cider Cardamom Jelly

It's always nice to make jelly on a horrible, rainy day. It was miserable yesterday, but I left the house nonetheless because there are only so many times you can read Who Says Boo? and there are an infinite number of times a toddler can read it. Or, have you read it for them. So, for a distraction, we went into town to walk around the Water Street market because they have eaves to walk under and a fountain that makes Baby's head spin. We ran into a friend, saw some dogs which is always a thrill, and lingered until the rain really became a nuisance. All the while, I knew that at home some Granny Smith apples were slowly reducing themselves into juice at gravity's pace.

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.


  1. What an interesting recipe for jelly. Love the translucent color! Hope the weather gets better :)

  2. Thanks, Ellie! Today was sunny and quite warm for this time of year in NY, and we spent it out and about! So that was nice...

  3. Your jelly sounds delicious! I love baking when it is not nice outside :)

  4. Thanks, Karine! Doesn't it make life so much more cozy?

  5. On making any jellies/jams - what are your thoughts re: juicers? I've been using a Jack Lalanne or whatever juicer (the family has, we trade it back and forth) for about five years now.

  6. Hey there, Anon! It's a good question that I don't know the answer to. I've never tried it. The thing with apples is that you want to heat it to extract the juice with the pectin. Most of the pectin is in the seeds and the skin, and I'm not sure if the juice extracts that. But it's worth a try. What would work with a juicer is making jellies from seedy berries, like blackberries. It would remove the pulp and seeds in no time and with no heat! Thanks for the thought!