This is a fun little recipe. I have been playing around with it a great deal this week. It works as a great base for so many different kinds of jelly.
To Begin: Put the following ingredients into a six quart (non-reactive) saucepan.
4 pounds tart apples cut into quarters
3 cups water
3 cups white vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon peel
Now this is the fun part! Add any of the following combination of ingredients or make up your own.
Jalapeno Jelly – 8 chopped jalapenos, 1 chopped sweet green pepper
Habanero Jelly – 4 chopped habanero peppers, 1 large chopped sweet red pepper
Mint Jelly – 1 1/2 cup freshly chopped mint leaves
Bring this mixture to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Mash with a potato masher until it looks like lumpy applesauce.
Strain mash through a mesh sieve lined with cheese cloth. I like to do this in the evening and let it sit overnight. If the mixture is thick add a little water. You will want at least four cups of liquid but I usually end up with more. The key is to really mash the apples
In the morning, measure the juice and put into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan. For every cup of liquid add 7/8 cup of raw or turbinado sugar. (Yes, I know that is a lot of sugar but it is jelly, after all.)
Bring this mixture to a boil while stirring to dissolve sugar. Now simmer the mixture until it reaches soft ball stage on a candy thermometer. You should see a bit of foam forming as the mixture reaches 225 degrees. Don’t worry that is just the natural pectin of the fruit. Test the thickness of the mixture and when it is ready process the jelly.