Spiced Sloe and Apple jelly

We all know that Sloes make a great Sloe gin or Liqueur but combined with apples, they can also make a wonderful rich jelly.

Tiny purple sloes look like miniature plums and have a huge seed and very little flesh.  Although they can be used to make jam, you will spend a lot of time skimming off the stones for very little return, so using them to make a jelly is easier.

Sloes are best used with apples, firstly to even out their bitter taste and secondly to get the jelly to set.

Because you are making a jelly, this recipe is great for using up those scabby windfall or wild apples.

We use the spices to give the jelly a more rounded flavour and it is incredibly versatile.  Use like jam on nice fresh home made bread or scones, as an accompaniment to cold meats and rice pudding or even use as a marinade or glaze with duck or chicken.

You will need;

  • A jam making pan

    Sloe and Apple jelly

    Full of flavour

  • About 6 – 8 jam jars with lids
  • Jelly strainer
  • Large glass bowl
  • Long wooden spoon
  • Jam thermometer
  • Handkerchief size piece of muslin
  • Saucer
  • Large jug (comes in handy to take mixture from pan to strainer)

Ingredients;

  • 2 Kg Sloes
  • 2 Kg of cooking apples
  • 2 Litres water
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 allspice berries
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • Approx 3- 4 Kg sugar (this will vary on the quantity of juice obtained).

Making the juice

Place the sloes in a sink or bucket of water and give a good “sloosh” around to get rid of any dirt and bugs.  Remove them from the water and put in a jam pan, taking out any leaves and bits of twig.  Don’t worry about removing any small stalks on the fruit.

Wash apples, chop roughly (including the skin and core) and add to the pan.

Add 2 Litres of water to the pan and simmer on a medium heat until all the fruit is pulpy, stir occasionally to stop fruit sticking to the base of the pan.

Place your jelly strainer over another equally large pan or bowl and strain the mixture, throw away the pulp (DO NOT put it in your compost bin – unless you want sloe bushes sprouting everywhere!).

Making the jelly

Put your saucer in the fridge.

Sterilise your jam jars.

Measure the juice and place in a jam pan, adding 1 Kg of sugar for each 1.5 litres of liquid.

Place the spices in a piece of muslin and tie at the top and add to the pan. (Klippits are handy for sealing the top of the muslin).

Heat on medium, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring to the boil until jam temperature is reached (about 104 degrees).

Remove the saucer from the fridge and drizzle a little of the mixture onto it, let it cool for a few minutes.  If you take your finger or back of the spoon through it and it begins to wrinkle, it is ready for bottling, if not, keep trying every 10 minutes or so until this setting point is reached.

Take out the muslin bag of spices.

Fill the sterilised jars and seal immediately.  Leave to cool and label.