Crabapple and rosehip jelly

rosehip and crabapple jelly

I intended to make rowan berry and crabapple jelly this year. The rowan berries have drooped heavily this year. In fact, on our usual walk I have noticed several new rowan trees. Obviously they aren’t actually new trees I just haven’t noticed them before. Which makes me think that this year the trees must be particularly heavy with berries as I am not usually one to miss a foraging opportunity. Anyway, off I marched with my carrier bags, one for the crabapples, one for rowan berries and one just in case. You never know what you might spot.

It wasn’t until I came to actually pick the rowan berries that I noticed quite how tall each of my newly spotted trees was. Why hadn’t I noticed before that I needed to be several feet higher to get the berries? I managed a handful from a sapling growing on the side of a brook. Time for a rethink. That was when the spare carrier bag came in handy for the rosehips.

I made rosehip syrup last year in an effort to ward off any chesty coughs. So this year, we will be having crabapple and rosehip jelly by the spoonful if the common cold dares to visit. The rosehip is high in vitamin C and during World War II people were paid by the pound for rosehips so that the syrup could be made and given to children.

The apples and rosehips are bubbling as I write this draft and the scent is mesmerisingly good. I am looking forward to this jelly accompanying our winter sunday roasts and perhaps added to some herb teas. I think a spoonful might be a good addition to a sage tea to sooth sore throats.

750g crab apples
300g rosehips
water to cover
sugar, 450g for every 600ml of juice


Wash the crab apples well and cut out any bruises. Chop roughly.

Wash the rosehips and remove the old flower and check for any creatures that might be hiding there. Blitz them in a food processor or chop finely. Bearing in mind that they are famed by schoolchildren everywhere for their qualities as itching powder, so you might want to wear gloves when handling them.

Place the apples and rosehips in a large pan and just cover with water. Bring to a simmer and simmer away until the fruit is soft. Put the pulp into a  jelly bag or a clean tea towel (I boil one in a pan two thirds filled with water for about ten minutes to make sure it is clean) and allow the fruit to strain over a large bowl. Don’t squeeze the bag or the jelly will be cloudy. A lot of recipes say that you need to leave it overnight, but the liquid in mine had drained through in a couple of hours, leaving a dry pulp behind.

Place a couple of saucers in the fridge for testing your jelly later. Measure your juice and pour into a large clean pan. Bring to boiling point. Add 450g sugar for every 600ml of juice and stir to dissolve. Boil rapidly once the sugar has dissolved and boil until setting point has been reached. You may have a scum come to the surface. Scoop this out. Setting point should take about ten minutes. But test for setting point after five minutes. To test for setting point take out one of the cold saucers and place a teaspoonful of the jelly onto it. Allow to cool and then push your finger through it. If it wrinkles then it is ready. Pour into hot sterile jars and seal.

I love the colour of this jelly, it’s much paler than the crabapple jelly I made two years ago. It has more of a rose blush about it. It’s well worth a try.


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16 thoughts on “Crabapple and rosehip jelly”

  1. I love jellies made with both crab apples and rosehips – or both. Surely though that Vitamin C thing is a myth? isn’t this particular vitamin killed by heat? Nevertheless, as a post-war child, we all went rosehip picking from school – I think for Delrosa – as part of afternoon nature rambles at this time of year. We weren’t paid though. We were given a tin badge if we collected enough. No hope for me. I was only 5.

    And the one time I made rowan jelly… nobody ate it. Too bitter. This year’s crop has been especially bountiful and beautiful though, hasn’t it?

    1. Oh Margaret, you are shattering my illusions of something so delicious being good for us too. Oh well, I will take it for its placebo effect. Did you try the itching powder trick whilst on your nature rambles though?
      It’s interesting that you found the rowan jelly bitter. I haven’t cooked with it before so have no experience of it. Was it mixed with apple or entirely rowan?
      I wonder if the country saying that a heavy crop of berries means a hard winter ahead will come true?

      1. It was a few years ago now, but I think I mixed it with apple. It’s a taste thing – you should try it yourself, maybe you’ll like it. No, we didn’t do the itching powder thing (I was a nice little girl, I was), but you may like to know that the colloquial French for rosehips is ‘gratte-cul’ – itch-bum….. Hard winter? Hmm. Who knows?

      2. Itch bum indeed – that is fantastic! I knew you would have been too lovely to inflict pain on your school friends. I will try it, perhaps next year when I find a low enough rowan tree.

  2. Ooh lovely Kath. What a nice combination. Every year I mean to do something with rowen berries and this year I’ve managed not to pick any again. However, I do have my eye on some very nice rosehips which should soon be ripe.

  3. Mmmm, it sounds wonderful … almost worth getting a cold for (well, maybe not!). Loving the sound of the sesame seed cake too, as I much prefer a moist cake to an ordinary sponge. Once I have a working oven again, I will try it. Am managing with the Micro and a newly purchased Slow Cooker at the mo. Still not got Aga repaired! 🙁

  4. I bought a jar of Apple and rosehip jelly from the golf club fayre and it is lovely on pancakes!
    I made blackberry vodka which was lovely this year, all gone now and was supposed to be for Xmas. I will try the damson or plum vodka next thanks, love your site,

    1. Thank you Nana Elaine for your kind comment. My friend has given me a bottle of her blackberry gin for Christmas which I am looking forward to trying tonight. Damson vodka is very, very good.

  5. Pingback: Rosehip syrup | The Ordinary Cook

  6. We collected rose hips in the early fifties at three pence a pound and a tin badge for gathering ten pounds. Made Polish rose hip.soup.last year, interesting.

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