I was really inspired last weekend by my dear friend Steph. Not only is she beautiful, AND clever, but she is a really passionate and ever evolving cook. She was making crab apple jelly. For some reason I thought that jelly making would be hard, so always steered away from it, in favour of chutneys and packed preserves. But Steph made hers look so easy that when I saw Russets today, I thought I'd give it a shot.
And having consulted Jams, Pickles and Chutneys, Best-kept Secrets of the Women's Institute, it seems that the mathematics of making a jelly are quite simple: once you have boiled your preferred fruits and flavours (mine are bay leaves, ginger, rose hips and sage), strained the liquid, you measure out each pint and equal that with a pound of sugar. Once boiled you remove the scum and get it to setting point. It sounds pretty simple... I wonder whether it will work!
And by the way, I thoroughly recommend that Women's Institute book. I've used it countless times as a consultant, and found mine at the Battersea Sunday Market, for a few pounds. The market is also a fine way to spend an afternoon, rummaging through books, records and cheap bleach. My favourite of past times.
So, I've boiled the russets along with the jazzy garden findings and have placed the pale mix in a muslin. It's swinging from a precarious nail with a saucepan underneath to catch the sweetness. At the moment, it tastes pretty tart, but once I've added the sugar and reboiled, it should be perfect. Watch this space.