The recent storms blew some very immature apples off our trees. I collected them up, and made three products from them. These apples have quite a bit of codling moth in them, so by the time I cut out all the yucky bits, I had one kilo of apple, which yielded 3 jars of apple sauce, 1 jar of apple jelly, and just under a cup of homemade pectin to use in other jams. After Stage One below, complete only such of the following stages as you wish to.
One might also have unripe apples from thinning fruit on a young tree - use as below.
Stage One: Prepping and cooking apples
Place apple into a large pot. Add water to just cover - about 4 cups. Bring to boil, then simmer - use a potato masher to mash them as soon as they are soft enough. Continue to cook on low for 15 mins, stirring occassionally.
Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth or old, clean tea towel, or use a jelly bag. Set colander over suitable pot or bowl to catch liquid. Pour apple mixture into cloth and allow to drip overnight. Do not squeeze cloth/bag if you want a clear jelly to result later, otherwise squeeze if you wish. In the morning, you will find a cloudy liquid in the bowl, and the apple pulp that is very thick and almost firm - it keeps it shape when turned out onto a plate.
Stage Two: Preparing jars and equipment
Wash and rinse suitable jars for bottling the following items, depending which you choose to make. Stand jars right way up on a cold oven tray, and place in cold oven. Turn oven to 100C, and ensure jars remain in there for at least 30 mins from the time oven reaches temperature, to sterilize. Continue to keep at temp so remain hot until ready to bottle.
Boil a pot of water on the stove. Place lids in pot and boil for 5 mins before using.
You will also find it useful to have a preserving funnel to fill jars without spillage. I have one, but it's too wide to fit inside small jam jars, which is mostly what I've used for this. I also have a large ordinary plastic funnel, which I long ago cut the narrow part off of, creating a wide mouthed funnel that fits into jam jars and enables me to pour or ladle in liquids without mess.
Place some folded newspaper on a wooden chopping boards to place hot jars on for filling and until they cool.
Stage Three: Homemade Pectin
To store pectin until needed, freeze in suitable portions. If freezing in a jar, leave the lid loose until frozen, then tighten.
Stage Four: Applesauce from pulp
Unripe apples are bitter and hard when raw, but once cooked they are palatable and edible, but not very sweet. I used the pulp from the above process to make some applesauce, which I bottled to use in other recipes, such as my Curried Sausage Pie, in the future. (My regular applesauce is what I used on it's own or to top breakfast etc).
To make applesauce: process apple pulp through foodmill to puree and remove skins. Measure resulting puree. Place in suitable sized pot. For every 3 cups puree, add:
1 cup water
1/2 cup honey
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/8-1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon rind (optional)
Stage Five: Apple jelly from liquid
For every cup of apple liquid pectin, add 3/4 cup of sugar. Heat together into a pot until sugar dissolves, then bring to boil and simmer, stirring regulary, until setting point is reached (mine took about 20 mins, but this will vary depending on size of pot relative to contents, how close to sea level you are, and how much pectin was in your actual apples). Setting point is judged by dropping a little of the jelly onto a cold plate and letting it cool. If it holds it's shape or is jelly-ish then set point has been reached. With high-pectin fruit jellies, I find there's no need for it to be VERY "set" as by the time you've got it in a jar, it will be totally setting with ease.
Note: while the jelly is boiling, skim off any foam with a spoon as needed. I did this somewhat, but was also following a recipe that said to do this at the end, before bottling, which in this case didn't work very well because by that stage, the jelly was very gel like, and the foam mixed in and was harder to remove.
Also note: the pectin liquid is cloudy in appearance. About 8 mins into boiling with the sugar, the liquid becomes transparent, and gives that lovely clear look and rich colour, though it can be marred by unskimmed foam, as happened to me in this case. Still tastes just the same though - sweet and delicately flavoured. Yum!