My friend Alisha and I had a crazy idea. One that we knew would take all day, but didn’t actually expect to take… all day.
It actually took ten entire hours. Non-stop.
We each traveled down Old Philadelphia Pike last week to pick through the massive bins of apples at Kauffman’s Fruit Farm Market. Apples are amazing. If you ever go to an Amish stand that sells apples, ask the worker there which combinations are best for whatever you want to make. Some apples are crisp and refreshing–and better for eating. Some apples are higher in pectin (the gelatinous polysaccharide which doubles as a setting agent in jams and jellies) and break down during the cooking process–better for applesauce or apple butter. Some are sweet, some are tart.
I bought half a bushel of gala and winter banana apples. (Winter banana apples, when freshly sliced, smell just like a ripened banana. They are my new favorite.)
Our original plan was to make large batches of apple butter and applesauce, and somewhere along the way one of us searched Pinterest for something we could make using the scraps–peels and cores–of the mountain of apples we had spent hours peeling and chopping.
With our apple butter boiling away in the crock pot and our applesauce chopped, boiled, and blended, we threw our scraps into a stockpot full of water. “I wonder what color this will turn out to be!” We honestly expected it to turn tan or brown since we were using red and green apple peels. But as the peels broke down, a gorgeous pink color evolved. We strained the liquid, added sugar and lemon juice, and stood aside each other giggling and chatting away.
The jelly was finally finished, and yielded the most beautiful red color I had ever seen–as beautiful as antique ruby gemstones. The only thing we would change next time is maybe adding a 4 or 5 whole apples, cut into large chunks. We desired more of an apple flavor to our jelly.
There is also peach scrap jelly and corn cob jelly which tastes just like honey! Experiment and enjoy!