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Sunday, 1 November 2009

Sloe Jelly

This is a very old traditional recipe and makes the most delicious tart jelly which has a multitude of uses, not least with your turkey for Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving if you live in the states.

The recipe below has a ratio of 4lb apples to 3/4lb of Sloes, and this is quite heavy on the apples as many people find sloes hard to find. This year, in the west of Ireland, they are almost impossible to find as for some reason it has been a terrible year for them (the apple crop is also very poor).

I have various other Sloe Jelly recipes which have varying proportions of apples to sloes. They range from 1lb apples to 3lbs sloes, to the 4lb apples 3/4lb sloes one below, with various combinations in between.

I don't think it matters as all will work, just use what you have available and obviously which combination is mostly to your personal taste.

I even have one which uses crab apples instead of normal apples.

In all cases you just chop the apples. Don't peel them and don't core them, just use all of the apple.

Sloe Jelly Recipe

3/4 lb of Sloes
4lb Apples
White Sugar (you can also use Jam Sugar for an easier set)
2 Lemons

1. Wash all the fruit.

2. Chop the apples and lemons into chunks. I always use organic lemons as they do not have the wax coating that non organic ones always have. I don't want chemical wax in my food !

3. Put the apples and lemons into a largish pan, and cover them with enough water to just about cover them, no more.

4. Bring the pan to the boil and then simmer for about 1.5 hours, until the fruit is completely like pulp.

5. Put the sloes in another pan, just about cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer them also until they are very pulpy and mushy.

6. Set up a jelly bag, or muslin cloth, over a large bowl or food grade plastic bin.

7. Once both pans of fruit are in a state of mush (I like that word), put the mush, pulp and all the contents of the 2 pans into the jelly bag/muslin cloth over the bowl.

8. Leave this for several hours, or even overnight, to drip through gently. Don't be tempted to hurry it and squeeze the bag, as you will just get cloudy yukky jelly.

9. Put the resulting fruit juice into a big clean pan.

10. Add 1lb of sugar for every 1 pint of juice (imperial pints UK, not US pints).

11. Heat this gently until all the sugar is dissolved.

12. Once the sugar is dissolved, bring the mix to a boil. Keep it boiling for 10 minutes and then test to see if it is setting.

13. Once setting point has been reached, allow it to cool for 10 minutes and then pour it into sterilised glass jars and seal them immediately whilst hot.

This, as usual, will keep for at least a year in a cool, dark place. It's best kept in the fridge once opened though.

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