Many baked good recipes, like apple pie and crumble, require peeled and cored apples to get the ooey, gooey texture just right.
Looking at the heaping pile of scraps on the counter, you might wonder what to do with apple peels that are left over! Of course, you could compost them to avoid extra waste – but there are several other uses for apple peels to consider. Why not use your leftover apple peels to make some homemade apple scrap jelly instead?
This deliciously sweet scrap apple jelly is excellent to spread on warm toast with melted butter, and it adds a sweet pop of flavor to savory meats like roasted ham.
We’ve outlined how to make apple jelly from peels below using a super simple four-ingredient recipe. You can choose to can this jelly or store in airtight containers.
Apple Peel Jelly Recipe
- 20-30 apple cores and peels
- Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- If you are canning this recipe, start by sterilizing your jars.
- Peel and core your apples with a paring knife and apple peeler.
- Place the apple peels and cores into a large pot.
- Add water until the apples are barely covered.
- Boil the apple cores until they are soft and mushy. Much of the water will have evaporated as well.
- Strain the apple scraps out of the liquid.
- Measure your remaining liquid and pour it back into your large pot.
- For every cup of liquid you add back, measure, and add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Monitor and stir often until the mixture reaches a gel consistency.
- Get out a candy thermometer. The temperature needs to reach 105°C (220°F). Keep a close eye on the pot when it starts getting close to this temperature.
- ***If you don’t have a candy thermometer, use the jam/cold plate test. Before starting your jelly, place 3 or 4 small plates into your freezer. When you think the jelly is ready, place a small teaspoon of jelly onto one of the cold dishes. Let it sit for approximately 30 seconds. Then, run your finger or spoon through the middle of the jelly. If the jelly starts to refill the line, the jam is too runny and is not ready yet. Keep cooking and repeat in about five minutes. If the line remains in the jelly, the jam has reached its setting point.
- Ladle into sterilized jars. Leave 1/2 inch of space at the mouth of each jar. Screw on the lids.
- Process the lidded jars in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes.
- Enjoy your apple scrap jelly, or give it away to your family and friends as gifts!
Apple Peel Jelly FAQ
What is pectin, and which fruits contain it?
Pectin is a type of starch naturally found in the cells of fruits and vegetables.
When combined with sugar and acid (in this case, lemon juice), it creates a jelly consistency as the mixture cools.
Do I need to add pectin into the recipe?
No, apples are naturally high in pectin, so they don’t need any additional pectin.
Other fruits high in pectin are blackcurrants, redcurrants, cranberries, oranges, lemons, raspberries, gooseberries, and plums.
Low pectin fruits might need some additional pectin in their jellies. Some low pectin fruits are cherries, peaches, rhubarb, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries.
What is apple jelly used for?
You can use homemade apple jelly as you would any other jam or sweet spread:
- On toast;
- On Pastries;
- Freshly baked bread;
- With yogurt;
- With ice cream.
It also pairs well with most savory meat dishes, like:
- Roasted ham;
Spread some on your favorite cracker and top with some salty cheese for a great flavor combo.
Why didn’t my apple scrap jelly set?
- Cooked not enough. If your mixture doesn’t set to a gel-like texture, it may not have cooked for long enough. Try leaving in the fridge overnight and then cooking more the next day.
- Lack of pectin. If your jelly doesn’t have enough pectin in the natural sugars from the scraps, it won’t set.
You can add some pectin into the pot while cooking if you’re struggling:
- Place 1.5 tsp of powdered pectin into 1 tbsp of water;
- Warm it up in the microwave until the powder dissolves;
- Add to your pot, stir well to combine, and keep cooking;
- Repeat until you achieve the desired texture.
How long does this jelly last?
If you can your jelly using a water bath, it will last from 1-4 years and even a little longer left in dark, room temperature conditions.
If you don’t can the jelly, you can put it into jars and freeze it. It will last roughly 6 months in the freezer.
Once it’s unsealed, you can keep it in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.
What else can I make with my apple scraps?
If you’re not into jelly but want to learn some other apple peel recipes, there are plenty of alternatives for you:
- Roast the peels with some cinnamon and spices for a crunchy snack;
- Make some apple tea;
- Apple core juice;
- Apple syrup;
- Apple vinegar, etc.
Final Word: Apple Peel Jelly
Though this recipe can be made year-round, it has its most complex and delicious flavors when made in the fall, right in the peak of apple season.
You can also add in other fruits to this jelly, like peaches and berries, as long as you either use fruit that’s high in natural pectin or add powdered pectin so that the jelly sets appropriately. We hope you enjoy it!