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Hot crab apple and chilli jelly recipe

crab apple and chilli jellyEveryone seems to be talking about chillies. They are said to trigger “feel good” endorphins and are packed with vitamin A, an immune system boosting antioxidant. Chillies improve the digestive process too as they stimulate the action of the intestine and stomach.

This year I was determined to make crab apple and chilli jelly. My first attempt was so so. There was a chilli tingle when I tasted the juice. I chucked it away. My recipe from Oded Schwartz’s Preserving added 3-4 medium heat chillis. Are these desseded? I’d used three desseded ones. A long foray on the Internet offered no clues. Chop and add your chillis seemed to be the line. So when I simmered my crab apples and chillies a couple of days ago, I left the seeds in. The result was a tasty juice with just the sort of kick I wanted. Hot but not hellish.

Hot crab apple and chilli jelly recipe


  • 600g of crab apples washed and chopped
  • 35g of medium red chilli peppers, washed and chopped with seeds in
  • 1 litre of water
  • White granulated sugar 500g to each 500ml of juice


  1. Put the chopped crab apples and chillies in a large heavy bottomed saucepan.
  2. Add 1 litre of water (they should just be floating). Bring tp the boil and simmer until the crab apples soften and become pulpy (lid on). This took about 45 minutes.
  3. Strain through a muslin square or jelly bag overnight. (Retain the pulp to make hot crab apple and chilli cheese)
  4. Add the juice to a large heavy bottomed pan and add the sugar. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. When the juice and sugar has come to the boil remove from the heat and skim well. Return to the heat and bring to a rolling boil until setting point is reached. This took 15 minutes.
  5. Skim and pour into warm sterilised jars. Oded Schwartz adds a chilli (stalk removed and split once lengthwise) as the jelly is setting. I really wanted to set chillies in the jelly but be warned this is a nightmare. The jelly needs to be setting firmly otherwise the chillies gently float to the surface again, and again and again. I made two jars with chillies and abandoned the rest.
  6. Update: Following Sarah’s tip (see comments),I added two firey dried chopped chillies to the jelly. Marvellous.

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  1. I made chilli jelly this morning. Lovely easy recipe but it began to set before I had time to skim it. The result was that much of the scum (we use it for home consumption but not as presents) broke up and it was nigh on impossible to skim. Is this the nature of crab apples? It hasn’t happened with any other jellies that I have made this summer.

    • I have made this recipe a few times now (allowing a good year with apples), this year was not a good year for me, but I managed to get enough fruit to make this year’s supply. As far as scum goes I only ever get a very small amount and manage to skim it off. I have the dark red apples not the green, so perhaps that has got something to do with it.

    • Try laying on a piece of kitchen paper, the scum will adhere to it & carefully lift it out of the pan.

  2. Jacqueline

    Have just found your web site and made some fabulous crab apple jelly, Also made a batch of grape jelly which is quite rubbery. Can I save it by re-heating and adding water?

    • Jo Frith

      I make grape jelly regularly. It’s lovely slightly warmed and used as a sauce with good quality vanilla ice cream, or with yoghurt. You could add water to make it thinner as you warm it, but I don’t think I’d bother. Take care if you warm it in a microwave – several short bursts rather than a long burst, since it has a lot of sugar in it. You could try cutting it into cubes if it is very solid and sprinkle them over ice cream.

  3. Angela Dixon

    I used this recipe for the first batch of golden hornet crab apples from my allotment. I made the mistake of using a food processor to chop them which left a cloudy liquid after draining through the jelly bag so
    I had to use a pillow case as well.
    It still looked a bit cloudy but once I’d added some sugar (I don’t like very sweet preserves so just added it until it tasted right) and a lime and started boiling it clarified.
    I was fairly cautious with the chillies, a mixture of dried and fresh as i didn’t want it to be inedible.
    I used a jam thermometer and am amazed anyone who regularly makes preserves doesn’r have one. They aren’t that expensive and mean you don’t have to start faffing around with saucers from the freezer until it reaches 102 deg C. I use this one that I’ve had for over 15 years.
    2lb of apples gave me 3lb of jelly.

  4. Jo Frith

    Hi, I’ve only just come across this website, so I’m sorry to be so behind you all.
    Each year I make gallons of crab apple juice using my Mehu Liisa (Finnish name) steam juice extractor. I got it from my local Vigo Press. See their website at
    It’s so easy – crab apples to setting jelly in 45 mins.
    Put the whole crab apples in the ML (You can add any flavourings you like at this point and the juice will pick it up) and steam to extract juice.
    Drain off juice, measure quantity and add appropriate amount sugar, boil to jelly stage and put in jars.
    Put pulp through sieve and make cheeses, leathers, butters, fruit jelly sweets or compost.
    If fruit isn’t high in pectin I add a cut lemon whilst extracting the juice.
    If you add sugar to the fruit whilst extracting the juice you get wonderful cordial to bottle.
    Foraging is fun isn’t it – but this is a busy time of year in UK

  5. Sue Salmon

    Sarah the vegetarian, what to use your chilli crab apple jelly for, anything and everything, I use it in stir fries, soup, pasta sauces, fish dishes (ok not a true veggie) and they all taste better because of it.

  6. I want to make this, but wondered what I’d have it with as I’m a vegetarian?

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