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Apple Jelly – How to make homemade apple jelly with just 3 ingredients. Easy canning recipe with no pectin added, and it’s delicious on toast and biscuits!
My boys love jelly or jam in the mornings with breakfast, and Jacob especially loves apple jelly with buttermilk cornbread. We made apple jelly for the first time this year, and it’s quickly become another favorite breakfast addition.
Apple jelly reminds me of childhood, mainly because I remember my sister bringing jars of homemade apple jelly with her when she’d come to visit. That jelly was always so good, and I always wondered how she made apples into jelly.
Now that we know how to make jelly without pectin, I’ve been making all sorts of jams and jellies. You can make fruit jelly out of just about any fruit, including apples.
In fact, it’s actually the juice of apples that you make into jelly. 3 ingredients go into this apple jelly from juice; it’s such an easy recipe, I can’t wait to share it with you!
Now, I will warn you that there is a bit of stove time with this apple jelly recipe; I’m not a fan of stove time.
Also, preserving apples is not for the faint of heart; it’s fairly easy, but it will take a LOT of apples to get a little bit of apple juice, apple jelly, apple butter, or applesauce. But in my opinion, it’s totally worth it.
I JUST WANT THE RECIPE! TAKE ME TO THE RECIPE FOR APPLE JELLY!
If you’d rather skip all of my cooking tips, important cooking info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the delicious apple jelly recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JAM AND JELLY?
Bon Appétit has a really good explanation as to the difference between jam and jelly, and they even throw preserves and marmalade into the mix.
Basically, jelly is clear and made from juice; jam has more chunks of fruit and is not quite as firm or set as jelly.
WHERE CAN I FIND THE BEST APPLES FOR JELLY?
When deciding which apples would make the best jelly, you kinda want to think about which apples would make the best juice, because that’s the foundation of your jelly recipe.
Fall is a great time to find the best apples for juicing, but you can use just about any apple you find, whether you’re shopping at an orchard, a farmer’s market, or the store.
In the fall, I recommend buying seconds at just about any orchard (and sometimes at the farmer’s market). Meaning you can buy a HUGE box of apples for a lot less than normal cost, which is going to save you a ton of money.
WHAT KIND OF APPLES SHOULD I USE TO MAKE APPLE JELLY?
Again, you want to think about what kind of apples will make the best juice. Some apples have a sweeter taste, and some apples have a more tangy, sour taste.
In the case of homemade apple juice, you probably want to use a sweeter apple, so you don’t have to add any sugar.
I used Gala apples for our apple juice and apple jelly recipe because they were available as seconds at our local orchard. Gala have a very sweet taste.
The best apples for juicing include:
- Yellow Delicious or Golden Delicious
- and Pink Lady
I’d even try making juice with Jonagold apples because they happen to be my favorite apples (so far, anyway). They really do make the best applesauce.
DO I HAVE TO MAKE HOMEMADE APPLE JUICE TO MAKE JELLY?
No, you don’t…You can buy store bought juice to make apple jelly, but you may also need to add pectin to it.
Store bought juice may not have all the natural pectin you’ll get from a good homemade apple juice made by cooking the whole apple.
WHAT IS FRUIT PECTIN?
Pick Your Own has the best explanation for what pectin is and where it’s found.
Basically pectin occurs naturally in fruits like berries and apples. When that pectin is cooked with sugar, it can thicken, forming the gel that makes jam and jelly.
Apples have a very good amount of natural pectin, especially when you cook the peelings, cores, and all to make your juice.
HOW DO I MAKE HOMEMADE APPLE JUICE?
You can use our recipe for homemade apple juice. The only ingredients you need are apples and water.
In fact, you can make apple juice, apple jelly, and applesauce all at the same time.
TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE APPLE JELLY
You’ll need 3 ingredients, including apple juice, lemon juice, and sugar.
The process of making apple jelly is actually really easy, especially if your juice is already made and ready to go.
- Mix together the apple juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a stock pot.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, constantly stirring.
- Continue to cook the mixture, constantly stirring, until the mixture reaches a temperature of 220° with a candy thermometer.
- Remove from the heat, and promptly ladle into clean and sanitized/sterilized jars for canning or freezing.
If the jelly hasn’t begun to gel once it’s reached 220°, you may need to cook it just a little bit longer.
Whatever you do, do not cook it too long, or it will end up like our first batch… A sticky, gooey apple taffy mess that eventually turns into a slab of apple rock.
HOW LONG DOES JELLY TAKE TO SET?
Time to set up really depends on a number of factors, including the type of stove you’re using to cook the jelly.
It will likely take a good 30 to 45 minutes, maybe longer for your jelly to set. And even as you remove it from the stove, it won’t be completely set; in fact, it will be more like liquid.
As it sits in the jars and begins to cool, the jelly will firm up and set even more. That’s why it’s important to put it in jars right away.
SHOULD I FREEZE OR CAN APPLE JELLY?
While you probably can freeze apple jelly, we chose to can our batch of jelly.
We use a water bath canning method.
This recipe makes probably about 4-6 pints. It’s so delicious served on homemade biscuits and toast. Yum!
HOW LONG DOES JELLY LAST?
Again this depends. I would refer you again to Ball’s Blue Book Guide to Preserving, linked above.
Most sources say that pantry stored jam and jelly can last 1 to 2 years. Freezer jam is a bit less with a freezer life of about 6 months.
Shelf Life Advice has a helpful chart with the life span of a jar of jelly.
IF YOU LOVE THIS APPLE JELLY RECIPE, TRY SOME OF OUR OTHER APPLE RECIPES:
KITCHEN TOOLS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE HOMEMADE APPLE JELLY:
Jars and Lids – I prefer jelly jars or pint jars. In fact, we usually try to keep our pantry stocked with jars. But don’t forget the lids and rings. They can be easy to forget, and before you know it, you have all the jars you need with no lids.
Canning Funnel – for pouring the apple jelly into the jars without making a mess.
APPLE JELLY RECIPE
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Homemade Apple Jelly without Pectin
How to make homemade apple jelly with just 3 ingredients. Easy canning recipe with no pectin added, and it's delicious on toast and biscuits!
- Mix together the apple juice, lemon juice, and sugar in a stock pot.
Bring the mixture to a boil, constantly stirring.
Continue to cook the mixture, constantly stirring, until the mixture reaches a temperature of 220° with a candy thermometer.
If the jelly hasn't begun to gel once it's reached 220°, you may need to cook it just a little bit longer.*
Be sure to leave about a 1/2-inch gap at the top of each jar. If you're freezing the jelly, this will allow for expansion as it freezes.
Wipe the rim of each jar with a wet towel or rag, place the lid on, and tighten the band.
As it sits in the jars and begins to cool, the jelly will firm up and set even more. That's why it's important to put it in jars right away.
You can either can the apple jelly or freeze it.***
*You can buy store bought juice to make apple jelly, but you may also need to add pectin to it. Store bought juice may not have all the natural apple pectin you'll get from a good homemade apple juice made by cooking the whole apple.
**It will likely take a good 30 to 45 minutes, maybe longer for your jelly to gel. And even as you remove it from the stove, it won't be completely set. Whatever you do, do not cook it too long, or it will end up like our first batch... A sticky, gooey apple taffy mess that eventually turns into a slab of apple rock.