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I have been short of fruit to jam this year. We had one plum on our tree, the greengages were small and hard and I only managed one trip to the pick your own farm mainly because of the horrible weather.

Last weekend, however, we managed to pick hundreds of sloes, helped by the fact that hubby decided to do some quite drastic tree pruning above his new shed! Gin immediately springs to mind, but as some of you know, I have got some blackberry and apple gin on the go, so I hunted round for some different recipes involving sloes.

The most popular recipe seemed to be sloe and apple jelly, and as we have a small crop of apples (nothing like our bumper harvest last year) I thought I’d give it a go. There are lots of recipes out there on the internet and this is my version/combination of some of them.

Sloe and Apple Jelly

Equal quantities of sloes and apples (I used just over 5lbs of each which made a lot of jelly – just as well I give it away in Christmas hampers)

Wash and chop apples, removing any bruises or “nasty” bits but leave peel and core, and put into a large pan along with the sloes (I did mine in two batches as I had far too much fruit to fit in the pan all at once). Add water, just about halfway up the fruit.

Put pan on a medium heat and bring to boil, then simmer for 10-20 minutes until fruit is pulpy and squishy.

Strain the pulp through a clean cloth overnight so that all you are left with is the juice. Do not squeeze the pulp or the jelly will be cloudy. Be patient!

Measure the juice, return to pan with the correct quantity of sugar – I added 400g of sugar for every 500mls of juice. This has produced quite a tart jelly which I like, but if your prefer it sweeter I would suggest adding equal quantities of sugar to juice.

Heat the sugar and juice gently, stirring from time to time to make sure all the sugar is dissolved, then bring to the boil.

Boil for around 10 minutes (take any scum off the top of the boiling liquid with a spoon) and then test for setting point (you can either use a thermometer or put a drop of jelly onto a plate that has been in the fridge. Leave this for 30 seconds and then push it with your finger. If it wrinkles or leaves a path where your finger was, then the jelly is ready). If it hasn’t reached return the pan to the heat and boil for a bit longer then test again. Repeat this process until you have got there!

Pour the jelly into sterilised jars (you can find out how to sterilise jars really easily if you google it), cover and label. And there you have it – Sloe and Apple Jelly.

Next year I will be making sloe gin again and then using the gin soaked sloes in this recipe!

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