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How to Make Candy Apple Jelly (Only Four Simple Ingredients)

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Candy Apple Jelly is beautiful and tastes like baked cinnamon apples. This is an excellent homemade gift during the holiday season!

Candy Apple Jelly is beautiful and tastes like baked cinnamon apples. This is an excellent homemade gift during the holiday season!

Candy Apple Jelly: An Easy Jelly Recipe

With Thanksgiving and Christmas approaching, unique homemade gifts are often desired for party hosts and for friends and family. For people who love to can their own jelly and jam, Candy Apple Jelly is an excellent gift idea.

The apple jelly recipe is so easy to make that any beginning canner can make it in a short period of time. This jelly fills the kitchen with an amazing cinnamon apple aroma, is brilliantly red, and tastes a lot like freshly baked apples. The flavor is amazing, and friends and family will be sure to want the recipe!

This recipe will make approximately 6 to 8 jars (8-ounce size) of jelly.

Pretty Packaging Idea for Jelly

If giving this jelly as a gift, be sure to buy decorative jelly jars. Ball makes beautiful jelly jars with a quilted glass design. Cut a square of fabric with a seasonal design, place the fabric at an angle over the lid, and secure the fabric in place with the jar's ring. Add a cute label stating "Candy Apple Jelly" and make the jelly part of a gift basket or use as a small hostess gift.

Candy Apple Jelly Ingredients

  • 4 cups apple juice
  • ½ cup Red Hots (candy)
  • 4 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 package of pectin

Any store-brand apple juice will work. Some people prefer to use apple cider for this recipe, but the clearest, jewel-red color will come from using apple juice.

Red hots are small, red, cinnamon candies that can be found on most candy aisles, or in the bulk food department.

Pectin is generally kept alongside other canning supplies and may be found at any grocery store.

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The finished jelly will be viscous, and brilliant ruby in color. The jelly can be canned or refrigerated. If refrigerated, eat within 2 weeks.

The finished jelly will be viscous, and brilliant ruby in color. The jelly can be canned or refrigerated. If refrigerated, eat within 2 weeks.

Apple Jelly Canning Supplies and Preparation

A large water bath (boiling), canning funnel, lid lifters, lids and rings, and a jar lifter are needed to can the jelly. If the jelly is not canned, it must be refrigerated and eaten within 2 weeks. Canned jelly will keep in a pantry for up to a year.

Clean the jars and rings well with hot, soapy water, and set aside. Depending on the lid manufacturer, the lids may need to be boiled or merely washed in hot, soapy water (consult the instructions on the package).

Candy Apple Jelly is very simple to make, and it requires only four ingredients (click to enlarge).

Candy Apple Jelly is very simple to make, and it requires only four ingredients (click to enlarge).

How to Make Simple Candy Apple Jelly

  1. Add the apple juice, red hot candies, and pectin to a large saucepan. Stir to dissolve the pectin. Turn on the heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. Do not allow the candies to stick to the bottom of the pan. The candies will melt and the entire mixture will turn a brilliant red color.
  2. Once the jelly starts to boil, add the 4 ½ cups of sugar, stirring thoroughly to dissolve the sugar. The jelly will thicken considerably once the sugar is added. Bring the mixture back to a rolling boil, and boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Ladle off any foam or undissolved candies, and fill each prepared jar, leaving ¼” headspace in each jar.
  4. Apply the lids and tighten the rings, and place the jars into the boiling water bath. Ensure that each jar is covered by 2” of boiling water, and process for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the hot water bath with the jar lifter and set on the counter to cool.
  5. Each lid should “ping,” or seal with a popping sound after a period of time. Check the jars by pressing on the center of each lid: a sealed jar will not flex, and will remain depressed. Unsealed jars will flex up and down: these must be refrigerated and used within 2 weeks.

Canning Supplies for Beginners

Canning may seem intimidating to some, but it is really a simple process. Anyone who has a vegetable garden or who likes to make homemade gifts should give it a try. I prefer the Ball jars and canning lids, though nearly any brand will work sufficiently well.

That said, be sure not to use the old-fashioned wire-and-glass jars with the rubber seals; these often do not seal well, and the risk of botulism or other food poisoning makes these vintage jars unsuitable for modern canning. Current canning jars use glass jars and reusable rims, but the lids must be purchased new for each canning job to ensure a tight seal. Fortunately, the lids are very cheap!

Ball makes a “Canning Discovery Kit” which allows would-be canners to experiment with canning, and this Candy Apple Jelly is a fun and easy recipe to make with this kit. The kit comes with three mason jars and a basket to use in any large stock pot. This allows people to experiment with canning without investing large amounts of money in canning equipment.

The Ball Canning Discovery Kit

Questions & Answers

Question: Can you seal apple jelly with paraffin?

Answer: Sealing jelly with paraffin wax is no longer recommended as the seal is nearly impossible to guarantee and may become disturbed over time, allowing mold and other pathogens to grow in the jelly. The preferred method for canning jelly is hot water bath canning as it forms a vacuum seal over canned goods.

© 2011 Leah Lefler

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