Spiced Crabapple Jelly

I love crabapples. With their tart snap and their crunchy texture, I always wish that they came in large apple size. When my sister offered to give me all the crabapples on her tree, I immediately said yes. What I didn’t realize is that it was pounds of crabapples, not a wee sackful to nibble on. I decided to make crabapple jelly with them. Another misconception, I thought I would get about half a dozen jars.

I mean, crabapples aren’t that juicy, right? Well, I got 22 250ml jars and had to borrow another large pot from the neighbors to cook all the apples in. The process took a couple days as I let the stewed apples drain overnight. I ended up with 18 cups of liquid.

When making crabapple jelly, use 3/4 cup sugar for every cup of crabapple juice. I prefer my jelly a bit tart, so used about a half cup less.

Spiced crabapplesThe Process

Start by cleaning the apples, plucking off the stems and using a small paring knife to knick off the bottom of the crabapple. Cut them in half and place in a pot that has a generous splash of lemon juice. Discard any mushy, overly bruised, or wormed apples. Light bruising is fine.

Once all the apples have been prepped, dump into a sink filled with cold water. Swirl the crabapples around to dislodge any remaining debris and place in a large pot. Fill with water until the apples are just covered.

I decided to spice up the jelly and used cinnamon sticks, whole allspice, and cloves. The Hubby said it tastes like Christmas. I

After simmering and breaking down the apples, I put the pulp into a cheesecloth lined strainer, over a large pot to drain overnight.

Tip for when cooking: get yourself an instant read thermometer.

The next day when cooking the liquid down, I only had a candy thermometer available and it fogs over and doesn’t stay put very well.

You want to cook the jelly to 220F.

Once in jars, water bathe for 10 minutes (if under 1000F sealevel, if over 5 minutes in the water bath.)

Spiced Crabapple Jelly

Spiced Crabapple Jelly


  • Crabapples
  • 3/4 cup cane or granulated sugar (per 1 cup of strained liquid)
  • water
  • cinnamon sticks (4-5 sticks per large pot full)
  • whole allspice (4-5 sticks per large pot full)
  • cloves (1 tablespoon per large pot full)


  • Place the cleaned and halved crabapples into a large pot and add water just until the apples are covered.
  • Shove the cinnamon sticks, allspice, and cloves into the apples.
  • Start the apples at a slow simmer, stirring occasionally. After about 10 minutes, mash lightly with a potato masher.
  • Bring to a soft boil and remove from the heat.
  • Take a large strainer and line with cheesecloth. Place over a large pot or bowl.
  • Pour the stewed apples into the strainer, cover with a layer of cheesecloth, and let sit overnight.
  • Place washed jars in a canning pot, fill with water and bring to a boil. Placed the lids and rings into another pot, cover with water and bring to a boil, then turn to low.
  • Take the strained juice and add 3/4 cup sugar per 1 cup of strained liquid.
  • Gently bring the mixture to a boil. STIR FREQUENTLY.
  • Skim off the foam when it builds up.
  • When the liquid has reached 220F, remove from the heat.
  • Remove a jar from the boiling water, fill the jar with crabapple liquid. Wipe the rim clean if needed, and take a lid and ring from their pot and lightly screw on.
  • Finish filling all the jars and using oven mitts, tighten the lids. Place back in the canning pot and water bathe for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the jars gently, trying not to tip, and place to the side to cool and set.
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