Apple Jelly

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I kept thinking on Nietzsche while I was making this jelly. My boyfriend and I had gone to the farm, picked the apples from the trees, and then hauled them all the way home. That was just the beginning. Then came the jelly-making process, two days of boiling, juice dripping, mashing, cooking, and finally canning. The process by which the Dionysian fruits of the earth are transformed into formally perfect Apollonian objects had never been clearer to me. I’ll never look at a jar of Smucker’s the same again.

Apple Jelly

Adapted from David Lebowitz

8 lbs apples

10 cups water

6 cups sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon Calvados or other brandy

1.)   Wash and chop apples into coarse chunks, and put everything, including the cores and the seeds into your largest pot.


2.)   Pour in water and boil. When boiling, reduce the heat, leave the lid off slightly, and cook for about a half hour until the apples are cooked.


3.)   Line a wire-rimmed strainer with cheesecloth and set it over a large, deep bowl. Ladle the apple into the strainer and allow to stand overnight. Do not press down on the apples ever as this will make your jelly cloudy.


4.)   The next day you should have about 8 cups of juice. Take the leftover fruit pulp and mash it through a strainer for applesauce.


5.)   Pour the jelly into a good solid jelly-making pot and attach a candy thermometer to the pot. Add sugar and lemon juice and bring to a boil, skimming off the scum that rises to the surface.


6.)   Cook until the candy thermometer reads 220 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature you can begin testing the jelly using the freezer method. If the jelly holds its shape, it’s done; if not continue to cook it and test it again in the freezer. The jelly-making process could take a long time, up to a couple of hours.

7.)   Sterilize jars, lids, and bands, and water bath process the filled jars for ten minutes.