You don’t often come across herb jellies nowadays, but I love this one spread on oatcakes with a bite of cheese or cold meat on top. It’s also a bit different as a thank-you party gift at Christmas time.
Makes 4 to 5 250ml jars
1.2 kg cooking apples
270ml cider vinegar
30g rosemary sprigs
About 750g granulated sugar (I use half preserving sugar, half granulated sugar, but all granulated is fine)
Cut the apples roughly (don’t peel or core) and place in a large pan with the vinegar, about 20g of the rosemary and 600ml water. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer gently for an hour or so. Pour into a jelly bag over a large bowl and leave to drip for a few hours (or overnight). You should collect about 900ml liquid.
Place the liquid in a large, heavy-bottomed pan with 500g of sugar for every 600ml of liquid. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved. Then simmer for half an hour.
While the jelly is simmering, sterilise your jars in the oven and place a couple of saucers in the fridge (for testing the jelly).
Check the jelly for setting by dropping a little on a cold saucer, then placing in the freezer for a few minutes. Drag your finger gently through the jelly – it’s ready when the surface wrinkles. Otherwise simmer for another 5 to 10 mins and test again.
When the jelly is ready, skim off any white scum. Place a couple of sprigs of rosemary into each warmed sterilised pots and fill with the jelly. Cover the pots with a clean towel and leave for an hour or so, then gently push the rosemary down into the jelly so it shows through the side of the pots. Leave to cool completely, then seal.