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How to make hot crab apple and chilli jelly

This crab apple jelly is a tasty accompaniment to sausages or cold meats, and delicious on toast and crumpets too.

Crab apple jelly. © Anita Peeples/Getty

Crab apples are smaller and sharper than cultivated apples, and may be green, yellow or red in colour.

Their bitter, dry-tasting nature makes them unpalatable to eat but their intense apple flavour works well in many recipes, including drinks and jams.

From a health perspective, crab apples are a natural antioxidant and high in vitamin C.

Their seeds and core and naturally high in pection making them useful to set jellies and jams.

This jelly keeps for about 1 year. Refrigerate once upon and use within 1 month.

Crab apples. © Nick Baranov/Getty
Crab apples. © Nick Baranov/Getty


  • Crab apples 600g, washed and chopped [I like to use red-skinned ones as they give the jelly an amazing colour]
  • Chillies 35g, chopped
  • Water 1 litre
  • Lemon juice from 1 lemon
  • Caster sugar 500g


  • Step 1

    Put the chopped apples, chillies, lemon juice and water in a heavy-bottomed pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the apples become pulpy.

  • Step 2

    Strain through a jelly bag or muslin square overnight. Don’t be tempted to squeeze the pulp – this would make your jelly cloudy.

  • Step 3

    Measure the juice into a pan. For every 500ml of juice add 300g of caster sugar. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Keep a rolling boil going for 10-15 minutes until setting point has been reached.

  • Step 4

    Cool slightly, skim away any scum that forms on top of your jelly, pour into sterilised jars and seal tightly with screw-top lids.

Christine Iverson is the author of The Hedgerow Apothecary and The Garden Apothecary (both published by Summersdale Publishers). She discovered a love of cottage gardens and all things hedgerow after moving to a Sussex downland village in 2001. This fascination led to volunteering as an apothecarist at the Weald and Downland Living Museum where she taught schoolchildren about medieval and Tudor medicine. She runs regular folklore and foraging workshops and gives talks to local women’s institutes and horticultural societies.

This is a recipe from The Hedgerow Apothecary: Recipes, Remedies and Rituals by Christine Iverson, published by Summersdale, £14.99.

The Hedgerow Apothecary

Main image: Crab apple jelly. © Anita Peeples/Getty