Apple Jelly
Six jars, 1 cup, 250 ml, each
The guidelines I used were from the National Center for Food Preservation, and said to cook the apple jelly to 220ºF (104ºC), which will be the setting point, but I ended up cooking mine further. So it’s best to test your jelly by dropping a dab on a chilled plate, putting it in the freezer for a few minutes, then checking to see if the mixture has jelled by nudging it with your finger and seeing if it mounds and wrinkles. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can use this method to test your jelly. One pound (450 g) of apples cooked will yield about 1 cup (250 ml) strained juice from the cooked apples. So if you have less apples, or you get a different yield (since all apples are different), you can use that as a guideline and add 3/4 cup (150 g) sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons of lemon juice per cup of strained apple juice.
8 pounds (3.75kg) apples
10 cups (2.25L) water
6 cups (1kg, 200g) sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoon Calvados, brandy, or Cognac
1. Rinse the apples and cut them coarsely into chunks, then put them and the cores and seeds, into a very large stockpot.
2. Add the water, cover, and bring to a boil. When bubbling, reduce the heat a bit, leave the lid askew, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until the apples are tender and cooked through.
3. Line a mesh colander with a piece of muslin cloth or a few folds of cheesecloth (or use a jelly bag and stand) and set it over a deep bowl, then ladle the apples and the liquid into the colanders. (I used two lined colanders since it was quite a bit of apples.)
4. Let stand overnight (or at least three hours), and no matter how tempting, do not press down at any time on the apples to extract more juice or the jelly will get cloudy.
5. The next day, measure out the juice. (See Note below about the apples.) You should have 8 cups (2l). Pour it into a stockpot fitted with a candy thermometer, add the sugar and lemon juice, and bring to a boil. During cooking, if any white scum rises to the surface, skim it off.
6. Cook until the temperature reaches 220ºF (104ºC). At that point, turn off the heat and begin testing the jelly on a chilled plate in the freezer, using the method mentioned in the headnote. When it wrinkles and holds its shape, it’s done. If not, continue to cook and re-test it at intervals. This batch set at 230ºF (110ºC).
7. Remove from heat, stir in the liquor, and ladle into clean jars, then cap tightly.

Storage: I don’t preserve my jelly or jams in heat-treated jars because I eat them quickly, but store mine in the refrigerator where they’ll keep for several months. If you wish to preserve them, you can find instructions for canning at the University of Georgia website.

Note: The cooked apples can be passed through a food mill and used as applesauce, or for Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Nonfat Gingersnaps, or my favorite Granola recipe.