Do «regular» apples make good jelly?

I only use crabapples (Dolgo, Chestnut, Wickson and Trailman varieties) to make jelly. Wanting to open up to new products I wonder if regular apple i-e Golden Russet, Lobo, McIntosh etc. Can do the job too? Thanks for any feedback! Marc

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What is it about crabapples and jelly? Is it the tartness? the texture? the pectin? Other?

Crabapples just make such great tasting jelly. I am not sure what makes it taste so good. Good question.

Hi there;

Could it be that small fruits like crabapples pack a lot of “wow”? For sure crabapples are very compact: they are not juicy at all, they are loaded with pectin, contain a lot of tartness, they certainly have a ton of pigments that make their flesh never “white” but mainly “rosy” if not quite dark. Combined together those elements must be part of the answer…

If ground cherries jam is my best-seller, Dolgo crabapple jelly is the runner-up once people forget about the terrible tasting “apple jelly” they can buy in supermarkets. Once I convince them about Dolgo jelly there is no going back to “apple jelly”.

That being said there must be an apple variety that makes good or even outstanding jelly… I just have to find THE variety or combinaison of them!

When I just started in the fuit trees “business” I got a Geneva apple tree. The bloom is so sensational but the apples even with their amazing red flesh are not interesting for fresh eating. Usually I make juice with them. Strange result indeed!!! Not for everyone… but I like it. I believe I will try making jelly from it next year! I like experiments… I’m a lot like Dr. Strangelove, Dr. Frank N. Stein and other pioneers. HA! HA! HA!


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Crabapple jelly goes really well with smoked guoda cheese. Also, I’ve heard of a dessert called membrillo (usually made with quince) being made with crabapples. I’d like to try it some time. For people who have never had crabapple jelly, it has a very pleasant, strong apple flavor. Nothing disagreeable at all.

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We call it marmelada… quince is marmelo. :blush:

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My first and probably most vigorous graft last year was a Geneva crab, thanks to the kindness of @Lucky_P. I love the contrast of the original leaf, stem, and fruit colors with the new graft. You can tell I’m a newbie at this, but I hope the excitement won’t wear off.

I doubt there’s any ‘universal truth’ concerning crab apples…I’m sure there are bland crab apples in existence.

But, many of them are sour, bitter, sweet, peculiar, etc…and the sour generally translates to high pectin content…and adding surejell or lemon juice or whatever isn’t (at least in some cases) necessary.
(Try making jelly out of red or yellow delicious apples, and you’ll probably have bad jelly results…and I’m not sure even lemon juice or added pectin can overcome them.)

The apple that is too sour for eating out of hand often makes great jelly. I’m hoping to have enough red fleshed apples to make a small batch of jelly this year;;if we won’t have killing freezes again two years in a row. So far, everything but some flowering quince and flowering pears seems dormant here.

Apple pies are also best from apple with some sourness…which is then compensated and balanced with addition of sugar, honey, etc in the making of the pie.

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There are a few regular apples that make good jelly.

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Yes. Jonathan is a multi-purpose apple and would work, probably with a little pectin added.
I think I’ve seen my mother make jelly from Winesaps years ago. Also from Horse apples.
Red June apple should be easy. Haven’t tried Braeburn or Granny Smith. Somebody has probably made jelly from most apple varieties at some point.

I’m working on a jar of Pink Pearl jelly right now, but PP is not a regular apple, is it?



I would consider it an apple rather than a crabapple.
And I suspect most red fleshed apples have a small crabapple in the family tree back in history somewhere.

Redfield and Winekist and Weirouge are apples IMO.
But have a parent or ancestor that’s a redvein crab.

But, then again, are there ANY apples that didn’t start out as small before selections and breeding and hybridization??

I have made Jam out of a lot of different regular fruits, berries… and have not found any of them to be less than ideal. They all tasted great to me. Perhaps I am not so particular as some.

If you like the fruit, you should like the Jam… I don’t do jellies, only Jams.

Now days I make Jams (Paleo or Chia Jams) and give them to my kids… the wife and I no longer eat those (low carb diets).

If you are interested in a Jam that is much healthier and still taste great… search youtube on chia jam, or take the link below. It is a fresh jam, not preserved by gobs of sugar, or cooked.

A few years back I was on the Paleo Diet and I made chia jam quite often from my peaches, apples, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and some store bought pine apple which kicks the sweetness up some naturally.

I like to mix them up, some strawberry and pineapple, or blackberry and blueberry… any combo you like.

I used Maple Syrup or Coconut Sugar for my sweetener (Paleo OK sweeteners)… 2 cups fruit, 2 table spoons chia seed, juice of half a lemon, 4 tablespoons maple syrup (or coconut sugar, or raw honey).
The fruit is simmered in a sauce pan for 7-8 minutes…

I think most freezer jam recipes call for 1 cup fruit, 2 cups sugar…

Notice this chia jam is 2 cups fruit, 4 tablespoons of sweetener (you could do more or less if you wanted). I found that 4 tablespoons of maple syrup made it plenty sweet, and the fruit flavor was much more outstanding.

There I go again, getting health, even on a Jam/Jelly thread…

Sugar, carbs nearly killed me… so no choice but to find alternatives.