I’m excited that you made these! Aren’t they fun? Using a food mill is smart– but I don’t have one. If I’d read the recipe through before starting, I probably would have dismissed it, so I’m glad I tried, even though the sieve was a bitch.
With apologies for writing too much in the comments, I just want to say that I agree with the sentiment of self-sufficiency that you get when making things like this. It’s a good feeling, preserving things for the future (even if, like me, you end up eating all of it in one day).
Hi Lori, Since you are cooking the apples with their skins on, the peel ends up adding a nice pink color to the finished jellies. I was surprised by how beautiful the color was. Give them a try, they are really special!
Hi Daily Spud! I wonder what happened? Mine were so firm I didn’t even use the oven- they were fine after the initial drying. Hmmmmmm. A food mystery. But I am glad that you ended up with some delicious “apple butter”.
Hi, I am back! :)
I did the recipe and I had a bit of problem to get it hard. I thing it was to do with the sort of the apples. It took 2 hours in the oven to get harder and more two days to dry. But it is delicious! Thank you once more.
Yeah, am wondering about the apples too. Mine firmed up so easily that I didn’t even need to put them in the oven. I used really firm cooking apples (like Jonathan and Northern Spy). I am glad that you guys still enjoyed these despite the problems with the process!
Hi Lisa: In order to do this with other fruits, you may have to add pectin. This works so nicely with apples because they contain a high amount of natural pectin which allows them to thicken and become jelly-like. If you google “fruit jellies” you’ll find a bunch of different recipes containing a variety of other fruits, and they all contain pectin.
I tried making these because they really intrigued me, but they turned out nothing like I expected(maybe the kind of apples didn’t work as well or something). But I had some leftover apples that needed something done with them so I tried a version exactly alike except without the sugar and they are really good, though more like fruit leather. I posted it on my website at http://easy-aspie.blogspot.com/2009/02/thick-soft-fruit-leather.html Thanks for the recipe/idea :P
I am in the process of making them. I bought a food mill and gave it a try yesterday. I didn’t know if I should use the fine or medium disk-thing so I used medium and it pretty much came out like applesause. Your picture of the jellies looks much more opaque than mine is shaping out to be…what size of disk-thing did you use?
Hi Mindy! It is probably too late, but I wanted to let you know that mine also looked like apple sauce at the point I put it through the mill. It changed colors and thickened quite a bit as it cooked. I hope it worked out!
Hi Mary: No, I don’t think this recipe would work with peaches. You would want to search for a recipe that had additional pectin added in order to attempt this with peaches. Apples have a high amount of natural pectin and so this sets up nicely on its own. Does that make sense? Let me know if you find a way of doing it!
Oh my god these look amazing, I can’t wait to try and make these. My mom is diabetic, but loves fruit slices, so if I could dust them with splenda instead I think these would be okay for her to eat, and so easy! Thanks for the great recipe!
Been reading so many food blogs, but I must say yours is very ver special. you respond to every question… so generous and patient. Thank you. I have one question too.
How long do these jelly squares keep, non-referigerated..? if the shelf life is short, any way to lengthen it…?
Hi Pratibha: These last a very long time. Alice Waters says in the recipe they will last up to a year! They didn’t last that long for me, because we ate them all. They really are lovely, you should give them a try…
hi tim! (loving your blog by the way)
i just stumbled on your site via google alice waters apple jellies problems! :)
here I am day 2… my jellies have not hardened! ofcourse the recipe says, washed, quartered, and cored… BUT did not say peeled… i peeled mine… could it be the reason why i have apple sauce still? I stuck them in the oven at 170… nothing…mmmm really dissappointed!
No. Don’t use a blender. The reason you use a food mill is because it separates the skins from the apple and leaves you with the puree. If you don’t have a food mill you can try passing the cooked apples through a sieve, but this will be a lot of work. Good luck!
Thanks for the feedback! i made them, but it didn’t jelly. I used only Red Delicious apples, so I believe that to be what caused it. I have lovely apple butter though! Will try again! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!
I’ve got this simmering on the stove right now, and it smells amazing. I added half a vanilla bean when I initially cooked the apple since I had it kicking around. For those of you who are considering doing this with just a sieve you might want to try this…My arm was getting tired and I was getting frustrated and I was only 1/4 of the way through the batch. Then I discovered that if you take the apple quarters and put them skin side up and press firmly with a spoon to smash the apple you can flip it over and scrape what is left of the flesh off the peel. I then took the apple flesh and blitzed it in the food processor before sifting it (tried just sifting it without the processor and it was still alot of work). Don’t forget to also run the peels through the sieve before discarding them. I got quite a bit of puree and it was very pink just from the peels! Thanks for the lovely recipe!
I am jazzed to try this recipe! I showed it to my husband (jazzed as well) and he insists we can run the cooked apples through a food processor and avoid the food milling bit. I feel like if this was the case, we’d all be eating apple jellies until our tummies were sore. Any opinion here?
Hey Jessica! Sure, you can try that. I think what will happen is that they will be less pretty and have a different texture. Unless you have some sort of special food processor, there will still be bits of skin that remain which I am guessing will effect the final texture/appearance. But don’t let that stop you from trying! Good luck!
Oh, yum. I’ve been making apple butter, which is essentially this recipe, and I have way too much to eat and still some apples left. Now I’ve got something else to try. I may try Heidi’s fruit leather too – seems to me she cooked it a lot longer than you did (and you cook it longer than I do for the apple butter). longer=thicker, more solid. Anyway, yum!
I was roaming around your beautiful site today when I came across this post. I have such a love for fruit jellies!
Over the holidays, my boyfriend and I stayed at my parent’s house for a couple days and one night while watching TV, I opened up the fridge to find a snack and found a little box with 4 fruit jellies in them. I ate one and put the rest back, but it wasn’t long before I opened up the fridge door again for a second…and then a third. I finished the box before bed and my dad found the empty one on the table the next day. It turned out he had received them as a gift from a coworker who went to Paris in jan 2009! I couldn’t believe those delicious candies had lasted a full year in their fridge without being eaten. I can’t wait to make a batch and show him how easy they are to make at home.
The process, by the way, is almost exactly like the process for making quince paste (membrillo).
I made these last Fall and I still have a few sitting happily in an airtight container in the back of my fridge. They do indeed last a very long time. My kids love them in their lunchboxes. They are a nice change from the usual baked goods.
I tried making these with windfall apples from our own tree. After ruthlessly cutting out any bad parts, I had 2lb of nice pieces of apple including skin; added the other ingredients as specified. I don’t have a food mill so once the apples were soft, I used a hand blender to get the mixture as smooth as possible and then sieved it – which was easy and only took moments.
After the specified hour, the mixture didn’t set even left overnight. I think it may have been because I was using eating apples not cookers. I simply heated it up again next morning and then cooked it some more, until it didn’t flow back when I dragged a spoon across the bottom of the pan (I was stirring constantly). Then it set beautifully and tasted great.
Emboldened by this success, I tried the same trick with damsons. (Small, very strong-flavoured British plums). Again, I had about 2lb weighed with their stones. Boiled them up, then sieved to get the stones out. Then cooked and cooked, stirring frequently at first and then all the time for the last half hour, until the mixture was really thick. Took the best part of 2 hours.
These were fantastic. Like the strongest, tartest jellies you could imagine. Wonderful.
This is my 2nd time trying to make these apple jellies. I do not know how you do it! I spent 10 hours on mine (and chronicled it on my blog http://whatcanyoueatblog.blogspot.com/) and still only one pan firmed up. It must be the type of apples. I used golden delicious and red delicious from our yard and even with 2 packets of pectin, and following your directions exactly, they didn’t firm up. However, they taste so good…even when they don’t turn out right…. that I am trying to talk myself out of doing it again next year!
Hi Megan (and anyone else you had trouble with their apples firming up), I honestly don’t know. I have made these with multiple varieties of apples and have not had a problem. Sometimes it takes longer than other times but I have always gotten them to set. You should keep cooking on the stovetop until the puree is thick and mounds. Ignore the 1 hour suggestion if they are not thick. Strange that this recipe seems to work so easily for some and is such a disaster for others. I wish I could help more!
This is a great, old-fashioned sort of recipe. For those who want to peel the apples, don’t. Or at least, put them in cheesecloth with the apples. The skins have tons of flavor and produce a lovely color, but most importantly, they contain lots of pectin, which is what helps these set. A blender is not a good idea either.
This is my second time making these and I completely love them! I’m using a tiny little heart-shaped cookie cutter for valentines day.
One tip – the first time I cut the apples as per the top picture, in big chunks. But that took forever to pass through the food mill. This time I cut them into a medium dice (1/2″ pieces) and they went through about 5 times as fast! Also, my cooking time is closer to 2 hours, but perhaps I am using a lower heat.
On first glance, these seem like they would be so hard to make but they seem simple! Once I get my hands on a food mill (the sieve does sound like hell!) and some more apples, I’ll definitely be trying this out.
Hiya! Wow – these look amazing! I make apple butter (which is just about the same thing but with spices – can’t wait to try this!! What my family has always used to get the peels out is a conical metal sieve with a wooden pestle – I guess some people call it a china cap. Important to cook the apples a ton, so all the flesh comes off the peel. And truly, if it doesn’t set up for you, just cook it awhile longer and call it apple butter!
Hello Tim. I am completely enamoured by your blog :) So much so that I was surfing your blog till 2:00 this morning! You have a wonderfully personable writing style and your photography is stunning. The piece de resistance are these gorgeous apple jellies. I discovered fruit jellies on my first trip to Paris 12 years ago and it’s been a love affair ever since. As I am typing this, the apple puree is reducing and thickening nicely. Can’t wait to sample it. Thank you for being such a kind and generous person. Cheers. P.S. I found your blog via Pinterest.
Hey, these remind me of my childhood when they were more or less the only candies apart from some chocolate… I loved them! Would like to give this recipe a try but was wondering if honey can be substituted for sugar, since I avoid sugar… Possibly the proportions will change?! Any ideas anyone?!
I don’t think that this would work with honey, but have not tried. If nothing else, the flavor will be completely different and not a fresh bright apple flavor. My main fear is that they will never set up, because the honey is adding moisture. If you give it a try, let us know!
Just a comment on the comments. You should always be cooking your apples with the cores and skin when you are preserving. That is where all the good stuff is and you want that to get into your sauce, jelly, jam, etc.
Also the pectin in the skin makes it possible to make preserves without using the pectin in a box which is really mostly dextrose.
Oh my god, I just red the recepe and I love it, when I was young we somethimes bought this in the store, here(in Belgium) it’s called “pâte de fruit”(path de frwie) that’s french for fruit jelly. Because it was made with apples and pears (or apple with other fruit)they called it like that because it was not just one fruit. I will surtenly make them, but I will first get a foodmill(in french “passe vite”, “pass rapidly”)I live in flanders and we speak dutch, but I live near de frenchspeaking part of Belgium so we use a lot of french words. Thank you so very much for this recepe.
Found this recipie when looking for things to make from quince pulp after juicing for jelly. (also extreemly high in pectin) Excited to try it with both the pulp from this season and the apples my MIL recently gave me.
Hey, I tried blending the apples then putting them through the sieve. It wasn’t a problem. I had to blend the apples with a little extra liquid, I used 2/3 cup of mandarin juice- which made simmering down take longer, but with a better blender the juice may not be necessary. There was a small amount of skin left behind, but a majority of it was soft and blended in more efficiently than I would have been able to send through a sieve.
I tired another recipe along side this with mandarin juice as the flavor base with extra pectin and found their consistency more like weak jello. Not enough texture. I would prefer re-using this recipe, adding extra juice and a little pectin.
Er, what did I do wrong here? I followed the recipe…and ended up with some really delicious apple sauce. It seems like the ratios are waaaaay off. Like I should have added twice the sugar? 3 pounds was a lot of apples – maybe 12 or so? What did I do wrong? (and how do I can apple sauce?)
Hey Samantha, It is hard to say what went wrong. It sounds like it just needed to cook longer, apple sauce is definitely one of the steps along the way to jellies. Apples can vary a lot in moisture content and you might need to cook for more than an hour to get them down to the right point. The recipe is definitely correct, I have made it several times as have others. Next time, I would just not stop cooking until the jelly really mounds (test in freezer to make sure it is “jellied”).
I love these! Made these last night and the recipe worked great!
I don’t have a food mill so I peeled the apples in the beginning and just threw the peels in during the first step when the apples are boiling. Once they softened enough, I picked out the peels (I have a crank apple peeler so I had nice long strings of peel that were easy to pick out). This was much easier than trying to separate the apple from the peel with a sieve and I still got a nice pink color.
I ran the apples through my VitaMix for a few minutes and this got them incredibly smooth. I still ran it through a sieve, but I suspect I didn’t need to; next time I’ll skip that.
I had to boil the mixture on the stove for 1.5 hours until it started to mound. It set up really quickly and is now just finishing drying.
Besides improvising for my lack of a food mill, I followed your recipe exactly and it worked perfectly. Next time I’m going to leave out the sugar for a tart jelly!
I made these a few days ago, and like others, I had to cook it a lot longer than an hour to get it to hold a mounded shape. It took me over 4 hours I think (woah!). But these turned out really tasty…I posted it on my blog with a link back to your post. Thanks for the inspiration!
Hey Ashley- Obviously I must have lucked out with my apples in the past. I am going to try this again and see what happens. It really didn’t take that long, the few times I made these. Thanks for checking in!
I have made apple jellies for over 30 years. I always add plain gelatin to the apples. But my recipe adds more sugar, doesn’t have to cook as long, and you get a bigger yield. Try mixing 2 tablespoons (2 packets) plain gelatin with the sugar before stirring into pulp. Note, this is NOT flavored Jello!
hi Tim – your recipe is circulating on pinterest! (that’s what brought me here) I haven’t tried it yet (definitely going to!), but after reading all your comments, I have an idea about what might be causing some jellies not to set: humidity. I live in Seattle and whenever I make something finicky (like French macarons, for example), I always have to take the dampness of my climate into account.
For those who are living in damp or humid climates, perhaps this is the key factor that is causing the failure? I made a beautifully dark apple butter last summer; friends and family proclaimed it the darkest, strongest apple butter they’d ever had. It took me about 14 hours of cooking over two days (with constant stirring throughout the last five hours – truly, a labour of love!) to get it to the right consistency. So, perhaps climate is a factor in how these things set up?
When I try your recipe, I am going to tie up the cores (with the seeds) in cheesecloth and cook the apples with them; I will be able to remove them easily before I pass the apple mass through my trusty food mill. The naturally-occurring pectin contained in apples is located in the skins and the SEEDS, so cooking the apples with the cores (I may save the bag and replace it for the second round of cooking as well) will increase the pectin content in the mass and help improve the chances of a proper set. With all the moisture in Seattle’s air, my jellies are going to need that extra pectin boost!
For those who are ending up with applesauce rather than apple jellies, I would also suggest picking up some low-sugar pectin (canning companies like Ball now sell it in jars, which is far more price-effective than those little packets; I personally have had ZERO luck with Pomona’s Universal Pectin as thickener), sifting a tablespoon or two together with 1/4 c. of sugar, and whisking it in to the cooled applesauce before heating it up and trying again. If you add the pectin without sugar, or add pectin to a hot apple mass, you are likely to end up with little cooked jelly-clods of pectin rather than getting the pectin to incorporate into your mass. So some quick work with the whisk and a cooled sauce will be key here, and should do the trick if your apples just won’t gel.
Just my two cents – hope it helps those who are struggling!
Got here because I’m making these right now and have been googling “mounding shape.” What does that mean? Maybe I’ll know it when I see it, but if someone wants to offer further clarification or explain the freezer test more, that would be great.
Used Red Delicious apples. Don’t own food mill so food processed, push through sieve with back of wooden spoon, food processed what was remaining in sieve, pushed through sieve again, repeat. Many of the apple skins never did get pushed through, but the color from them definitely boiled out into the puree. After cooking the apples in a 1 cup of water to soften, I wish I had drained them before food processing/pushing through sieve, or, if it isn’t a good idea to drain that apple water because you lose the natural pectin, then I wish I had only used a 1/4 (or even an 1/8) cup instead of a full cup so there would have been less to boil off to get to the “mounding” consistency. Right now I am at the two hour mark. The puree is getting closer and closer…but small test batches do not feel jellied after cooling in the freezer and I am waiting until I am 100% sure I see a “mound.”
Update: I think I figured out what “mounding” meant. When I first started reducing the puree, it flowed like applesauce. After 3 HOURS simmering, it piled up wherever I put it and did not flow on its own. It never passed the freezer test—I could put a blob of it on a plate and even before freezing it would hold its shape, put it in the freezer for a few minutes, and it would come out with the same consistency it had before—but it never felt like a jelly candy. Even though it wasn’t passing the freezer test, I took it off the stove because 1.) it had stopped bubbling at all (I guess there wasn’t any water left to boil off?) 2.) there were dark patches like it was starting to burn and I had it on the lowest possible burner setting. It had reduce in volume by at least 80% from when I started simmering.
Woke up the next morning—zero change from when it came out of the pot. Put it in the oven at 150 for an hour, no change other than developing what tasted like fruit leather skin on top. Don’t want fruit leather, want fruit jellies! This is when I decided my apples didn’t have enough natural pectin. Mixed half a cup of sugar with 2 TBS pectin, sprinkled over the fruit butter I had returned to the pot. Stirred, allowed to simmer and boil for about ten min, poured into pan and let sit for a few hours.
Set firmly enough to cut this time, rolled in sugar. The flavor is very good and they are firm enough to be cut into squares. In the future, I will follow this recipe only through the first step (softening apples and pushing through sieve) then I will switch to a different recipe, for the remainder. I am not a sophisticated enough cook to know whether my apples have enough pectin, and I wasted too much time and electricity figuring out the answer was no!