Apples, clearly


GOLDEN DELICIOUS French-style apple jelly, or gelée de pommes.

Red Cabot

Growth is everywhere yet still many Irish producers are waiting to harvest the first of this year’s crop. Thus we have the ‘hungry gap’, that stretches from whenever last season’s harvest finishes while still awaiting for the first arrivals of this year. It’s a salient reminder how reliant we are on local and national produce in this age of buoyant global consumerism; no bad thing. Good to enjoy the local goods when they come in, and appreciate them all the more whenever they are absent… Dare I say it The Brunette may have something to say about me in this regard, but that’s for another page!

When in France…
On an Easter trip to France we travelled through Normandy, visited markets, were refreshed by small shops with local and artisan produce being sold at fair prices. A good relationship between consumer and producer, each respecting the needs of the other. We ate apples that tasted divine, and then we fell in love with a form of clear, golden apple jelly they sell there, ‘Gelée de Pommes’. I find it very satisfying on toast, and a refreshing alternative to sometimes-cloying jams.

Apple jelly
I like the way you use the whole of the apple. After slow-cooking it is transform it into a very sexy product by draining it slowly through a jelly bag. Always leave to strain; if you squeeze you’ll get un-clear jelly (I know!). You could add some herbs, such as rosemary, or Andrew from Carrowholly Cheese makes a version with smoked chilli flakes … Nyum!

What you need
For every five apples use three cloves, two lemons, water and/or cider. Match 500g of sugar to each 500ml of juice.
What you to do
Remove any damaged parts from fruit, wash and cut up whole apples. Cover with water and/or cider, and simmer until a pulp. Simmer this slowly to extract maximum fruitiness. Strain through a jelly bag. Place cloves and lemon rind in a muslin bag and add to the strained juice, add lemon juice, and boil for 15 minutes. Remove muslin bag, add sugar (this should be warmed before-hand) and stir until dissolved. Bring to boil and continue rapidly ’til jelly sets when tested. Fill warmed sterilised jars and label.

> Red Cabot is interested in food, nature and small things. He sells his food at Westport Country Markets in St Anne’s Boxing Club, James’s Street car park, Westport, every Thursday, from 8am to 1pm.