Murphy’s Crab Apple, Rose Hip and Quince Jelly and, even better, Murphy’s Membrillo.

If only I could learn to trust, when September turns rotten, that October will blaze through with golden light.wild crab apples, rosehips and japonica.

Can you believe all this was foraged from the very hedge which marks the boundary of Cork city and county. The hedge runs through a bit of land known as Murphy’s farm. Not even my extremely knowledgeable father-in-law has been able to tell me who Murphy was but I guess he must have planted these crab apple trees. I thank you, Mr. Murphy.

Husband did the tree-shaking while Small Girl and I hopped about gathering these fairy-sized apples.The rose hips were somewhat more painstaking. There are a handful of Rosa rugosa, probably planted by the city council, but most are common dog rose (Rosa canina) and hail from the county side of the hedge. In the background of the above photo you can see a colander full of red crabs from our garden tree which is a red sentinel. We also threw in a half dozen fruits from our ornamental quince (Chaenomeles japonica) which Alys Fowler assures me (in this book) is edible and suitable for jelly-making.

So, it all went into a pot. 800g of garden crab apples, 800g of  2 different unknown varieties of foraged crab apples, 350g of rose hips and 100g of ornamental quince.wild crab apples, domestic crab apples, rosehips and japonica.

That made 2050g, let’s call it 2 Kg, so I added 2 litres of water and the pared zest of 2 lemons and cooked the whole lot to a mush which took about an hour. I then poured the pulpy mess into a large square of muslin and hung it over a big bowl to drip overnight. These are Darina Allen’s instructions which, no doubt, are better than mine.

Meanwhile, I grasped the opportunity to catch-up on some dead-heading. It is worth growing poppies and calendula just for the satisfaction of having a job to call you out to the garden at this time of year.

We have some chamomile growing wild. It smells SO much better than the teabags and gives my Easter Island buddy quite an interesting hairdo:img_2348-2

Fennel. Cripes, I love this stuff. I can’t get enough of it. img_2350-2

The roses, like myself, have found their second wind. img_2353-2img_2362-2

I’m reluctant to strip the garden bare but I did scavenge a small and sunny bouquet to bring indoors.img_2367

Back to Murphy’s jelly…

Next morning I was left with 1050mls of strained juice (I must remember to brush my hair in future).img_2368

To this I added the juice of 2 lemons and 790g of warmed sugar. (It’s 450g of sugar per 600mls of liquid.) I boiled all that for about 10 minutes until it showed signs of setting on my marble counter top (I’m very lazy). When potted up I had this much jelly:crab apple jelly,Seriously, look at the colour of that. I hereby name that colour Murphy’s October. I know I have shown you quite a few jellies this year but this one, I think because of the mix of fruits, is the outstanding winner. The white currant came close but this is more complex and satisfying.

Experimentally, I took Alys Fowler at her word and pressed the remaining pulp through a fine sieve. That took a good deal of patience and resulted in a fairly unattractive and bitter 600g lump of…something. I had very little faith in this but I kept going. crab apple pulp for membrillo

I added an equal measure of sugar, the pared zest and juice of one lemon and a split vanilla pod. This mixture was brought to the boil and simmered for half an hour until it was coming away from the sides of the pan and almost forming a ball. I think I probably should have held my nerve a few minutes longer because the resulting paste is still a bit moist. I present to you, a new and wonderful foodstuff…

Murphy’s Membrillo:wild membrillo. crab apple, japonica quince, rosehip.

It is, I swear to you, one of the most incredibly delicious things I have ever tasted. It gets into all your taste buds, you know, even the ones under your tongue and at the back of your cheeks. It was delicious with roast chicken. It was a total knock-out when shmeared on top of a toastie made with some Toonsbridge scamorza.

The Small Girl tossed and turned with a raging temperature last night. She was kind enough to come in to my bed to keep me apace with how she was feeling. ‘Don’t worry about that strange noise, Mum,’ she reassured me in the wee hours, ‘that’s just my nose rattling.’

She is still under the weather today so she and I are having a quiet time. A bit of cutting and sticking  accompanied by several doses of Calpol have passed the morning nicely.img_2388

Not to mention many large cups of coffee and a couple of jelly-topped scones. If you need a scone recipe to go with your jelly you could do worse than this one.wholemeal scone with wild jelly.

I’m going to join her now for the junior bake-off and a bit of knitting.

Can you guess where this is going? I’ve never done intarsia before so this requires serious concentration on my part, maybe a large latte…Mrs Weasley jumper.

and probably several more doses of Murphy’s Jelly.



19 thoughts on “Murphy’s Crab Apple, Rose Hip and Quince Jelly and, even better, Murphy’s Membrillo.

  1. Reblogged this on On the Road Cooking and commented:
    Crab Apple Jelly brings back memories of our Mom and childhood home. Think the seemingly endless fruit from those crab apple trees Dad planted inspired our mother to make her first batches of jelly and a culinary hobby was born. Over the years, she would produce various jellies, jams and marmalades; everyone wanted to be on that gift list. My personal faves were Kumquat marmalade, Green Tomato jam and Strawberry jam (which she made just loose enough to make a delicious topping for ice cream yet stiff enough to spread on bread and scones.
    Thank you for the great recipes and the memories…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you kindly for the reblog. You are a star! Those jams sound amazing. I have no clue what green tomato jam would taste like but I would love to find out.
      My greatest wish is that my kids will speak of me as you have just spoken with such love of your Mom. xx


  2. I am absolutely swooning with delight. I love the idea of the quince WITH the crabs and hips – I’d have separated them and it sounds like it would have been my loss. The membrillo just sounds delectable and I have made a note in my little book for future reference. I am now turning to your scones. Toodloo 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That jelly colour is glowingly gorgeous. My dad gave me a bag of ornamental quinces a couple of years ago and it made half a jar of the most beautiful jelly – far too much effort for the end result but he assured me it was delicious. This combo sounds lovely. Hope your small girl is better very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sam. I’m entirely new to quince. We have a tiny baby tree which was ordered for us from the UK but hasn’t produced even a single flower yet. Now, your pear recommendation has got me really excited. I’ve made a note and plan to put my garden centre man on the case! Will you plant one?


  4. your jelly has the most beautiful color, very autumn….never thought of cooking the pulp down….certainly worth it….membrillo yum……pretty sure it would be good hot on ice cream….just a thought….sorry about the little one….hope she’s over and no one else is sick…xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

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