I remember first eating rosemary jelly in James Martin’s Cadogan & James (now sadly closed) delicatessen & café in Winchester. It was an accompaniment to a delicious Chicken Liver Parfait served with toasted brioche. The combination was wonderful & I have made my own version ever since. It takes less than an hour to make & is also delicious with roast lamb. You can make other variations with thyme, sage or marjoram.
1.5 kg cooking or crab apples – chopped in a food processor including stalks, cores & peel (crab apples give the jelly a gorgeous, deep sunset red colour)
8 large springs fresh rosemary, washed & leaves removed from stems
450 g golden granulated sugar for every 600 ml juice
Place the apples and rosemary stalks in a preserving pan with 1.2 litres of water, bring to the boil & simmer until the apples are pulpy (30-40 minutes).
Pour the mixture into a jelly bag & strain – leave for 20 minutes or so until the dripping subsides. Do not be tempted to squeeze the bag or the jelly with be cloudy.
Measure the strained juice. For every 600 ml juice weigh out 450 g sugar. Put the juice, sugar & rosemary leaves into the cleaned preserving pan & heat until the sugar has dissolved, stirring frequently.
Skim off any scum which forms. When the sugar has completely dissolved bring the mixture to the boil & cook the jelly at a full, rolling boil until the setting point is reached (105 degrees C if using a thermometer) or until the jelly sets when put on a cold plate.
Allow the jelly to cool for a few minutes before stirring again to ensure the rosemary is distributed. Pour into sterilised jars, seal & label.
The jelly is ready for use immediately & will keep for up to a year in a cool, dark place.