How to make crabapple-jalapeno jelly

Preserve the flavours of summer

Chef Ian Campbell (Cook ’95), whose crabapple trees have been know to produce 360 kilograms (800 pounds) of crabapples, believes these tart, tiny fruits aren’t just for the birds.

“It’s nice to have the trees, but it is so sad to see all those apples go to waste,” says the Cook instructor.

Sometimes, Campbell has called on former students to harvest them, picking them off the trees and salvaging fallen but intact fruit.

“You don’t want to have apples on the ground too long or they will deteriorate.” (Lightly bruised apples, he adds, can still be used for apple sauce and preserves.)

If you face the same dilemma as Campbell, here’s a recipe from one of his former students used to reclaim his crabapples, turning them into a unique jelly.

Recipe: Crabapple-jalapeno jelly

Crabapple-jalapeno jelly made byFrom Leanne Kitagawa (Cooking ’88)


  • 13 cups chopped crabapples
  • Water (volume will vary)
  • Granulated sugar (volume will vary)
  • Lemon juice (volume will vary)
  • 6 chopped jalapenos
  • Apple cider vinegar (volume will vary)


  1. De-stem and turn crabapples into quarter cuts.
  2. Put cut crabapples, enough water to almost cover the fruit (a couple of centimetres of fruit should sit above the waterline) and 6 chopped jalapenos into a large, stainless steel saucepan. Boil mixture for 30 minutes while stirring frequently to prevent burning.
  3. Pour boiled mixture into a damp jelly bag stretched over a bowl to catch the juice. Let drip for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
  4. Add 150 ml of sugar for every 250 ml of spicy crabapple juice into a large, stainless steel saucepan. Then add 15 ml of lemon juice and a half a cup of apple cider vinegar for every 250 ml of spicy crabapple juice. Bring to a boil. Stir frequently to avoid burning.
  5. Fill a water canner with water and 5 Mason jars. Cover the canner and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes to sterilize the jars.
  6. Place lids of Mason jars into boiling water for 5 minutes to heat lids so it seals in the fruity-spicy goodness of your finished jelly.
  7. Remove spicy crabapple mixture from heat; use a spoon to remove the foam.
  8. Pour the mixture – which is now jelly – into the sterilized Mason jars, leaving a small amount of space below the rim. Make sure the rim is clean so the lids can be firmly placed on the jars.
  9. Once lids are on, place jars into canner with boiling water. Cover canner and let boil for 5 minutes.
  10. Remove jars. Let cool for 24 hours and then store in a dark, cool place.

Note: There should be enough naturally occurring pectin in crabapples that no additional pectin is needed, particularly if the skins are left on. However, pectin can be added as directed by the product. In either case, be sure to boil the mixture sufficiently to ensure proper setting.

Originally published September 8, 2016

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