Rose Hip Jelly

Longwood Crab Apples Dear Linda,

It’s great to hear that the Longwood garden is producing abundantly this autumn and that the crab apples are plentiful. Please send some photos.

At the thought of it, I can almost taste the lovely jelly that Mum used to make to go with Sunday roasts, in particular game, but really with any roast meat. Crab apple was the usual, but also small jars of jelly made from hedgerow booty.

However, I have not yet found the Crab Apple Jelly Recipe but here is one for Rose Hip. (Have you found the jelly bag yet? It’s looks a bit like an upside down Gandalf felt hat – but a yellowy brown colour.)

All the best – let us know if the jams and preserves are a hit at the Humbie Hub. Carola x


(BTW folks, when I say/write ‘jelly’ I am not referring to ‘jello’ or the dessert type of jelly, it’s a clear jam-like condiment – similar to cranberry sauce that complements baked ham at Christmas.)


Read more about the Healing Power of Rose Hips.

2lbs rose hips
2lbs apples
2 pints (5 cups) water
Juice of 1 lemon
White sugar

Wash hips and apples and chop roughly. Place fruit in separate pans & add half of the water to each.  Add lemon juice to the hips. Bring both pans to the boil and simmer till fruit is soft. Place juice and pulp together in the jelly bag and hang over a large pot or clean container. Do not squeeze. Measure juice and allow 1lb (2 cups) sugar to each pint of juice (2 and 1/2 cups). Bring to boil and boil rapidly when sugar is dissolved. Skim and bottle in clear small jars. (Jellies can develop a bit of a furry surface mould – which is harmless – but that’s why I recommend small jars – because they are eaten up faster!)


Quick Marmalade

I found this recipe in my Mum’s recipe book but, as with the majority of them, I know not where it originated, so apologies for the lack of acknowledgement. If you know from whence it came, please let me know.

2015-Sep-Grapefruit001Some people cut up the fruit first and soak it overnight in the water, but it is much easier to cut after it is cooked.
1.5lbs (700g) Seville oranges (well washed)
4 pints (1.8 litres) water, plus half pint for pips
1 lemon
3 lbs (1.4kg) sugar

Bring the whole oranges and the lemon to the boil in the 4 pints of water. Simmer in a closely covered pan, until very tender (approx 1 hour or more.)

Remove from cooker. When cool enough to handle, take out the fruit and chop it up, remove the pips, and return fruit to the pan. Boil the pips for 10 minutes in half a pint of water and then strain onto the fruit and water in the big pan. [The pips contain natural pectin, which helps the marmalade to set.]

2015-Sep-Grapefruit002Boil rapidly for 10-15 minutes. Add the 3lbs of sugar and continue to boil rapidly until the sugar is dissolved and the marmalade is at setting point (about 20-25 minutes).

To test for ‘setting’, place a couple of saucers in the freezer for about 5 minutes until chilled. Pour a teaspoon of the marmalade onto the cold saucer and return to freezer for a minute. The marmalade is ready to set if when you push it with your finger it wrinkles. (The 2nd saucer is there, if you need another go!)

Bottle in clean, sterilised, screw top jars.

P.S. Judy adds some beer instead of part of the water. She also uses brown sugar to make a very dark marmalade.

Carola’s variations:
Well, typical me, when attempting this recipe for the first time I didn’t follow it verbatim. I had a basket of grapefruits not oranges (thank you Juliette at Media on Mars for the fruit). Also, I don’t like super sweet preserves, so I cut the sugar by 30% and used organic raw sugar. Additionally, I experimented with some spices – by adding chilli flakes, cardamon, star anise, cinnamon and cloves.

2015-Sep-Grapefruit003This approach meant a few challenges, as the mystery behind rich and well set marmalade making is the scientific and perfect balance of the acid, pectin and sugar, boiled at the right temperature for the right amount of time. Not to be put off – I went ahead anyway – and I can probably say that the results are an ‘acquired taste’! We like it, but you may not!

Le me know how you get on – comments welcome.



Cumquat Gin

This is so easy to make but the hard part is waiting for it to be ready – anywhere from 6 months to 16 years!

2015-Sep-Preserves021Wash cumquats. Prick with a fork and place in a Kilner jar or jam them into a clean gin or whisky bottle. Fill almost to top. Add sugar (raw organic) to fill approx one third of the container. Top up with gin. Secure lid. Shake rattle and roll to dissolve the sugar and set aside.

For the first couple of weeks, give the jar or bottle a roll to mix things up each day. (I’ve heard that some people put them in the boot of their car to roll about! Wouldn’t want them to break tho’!). After that, put away in a dark cupboard and forget about them for at least 6 months.


It may be possible to hasten the process by boiling the cumquats in sugar and water for about 15 minutes, cool and then add the gin. I haven’t tried this yet but I will when the next batch of windfalls arrive at my door.

Also, I’ve read that some people prefer to peel the rind from the cumquats, being careful to avoid the bitter pith as this makes a better, richer flavour. If you have the patience, give it a go. I prefer ‘quick and easy’.

I haven’t made sloe gin but I think similar approach probably works – prick with a cocktail stick, add sugar and gin. Mum also used to intoxicate plums in brandy.

As always let me know how you get on and if you have any other recipes and tips.