Fireside Jelly by Diana Henry: would make a great Christmas gift

December 10, 2021

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

Fireside Jelly

Recipe by Diana Henry, tried u0026 tasted by AnnabelCourse: Recipes, Sweet Treats, new recipe, christmas gift, jellyDifficulty: Medium
Prep time


Cooking time



I spotted this brilliant recipe by Diana Henry in The Telegraph a few years ago.  As it would be PERFECT over Christmas on hot toasted muffins or crumpets, I thought you should all know about it as it would make a very decent Xmas gift for someone you love.


  • 2.5kg (5lb oz) cooking apples

  • Approx 1kg (2lb 4oz) granulated sugar

  • Zest of approx 2 oranges, removed in broad strips

  • Approx 16cm (6in) piece of root ginger, peeled and roughly grated

  • 1 cinnamon stick, halved, optional


  • Wash the apples and cut them into rough chunks. (There’s no need to peel or core them, but do remove bruised bits.) Put into a preserving pan or stockpot and cover with 1.5 litres (2¾ pints) of water. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer until the apples are completely soft – about 45 minutes.
  • Set up a jelly bag – I hang mine from a door handle in the kitchen over a large bowl. Ladle the apple mush and liquid into the jelly bag hung over the bowl. Don’t press the apples or you will get a cloudy jelly – just leave to drip overnight.
  • Measure the liquid the next day. For every 600ml (1 pint) collected you will need 450g (1lb) sugar, the zest, in broad strips, of ½ orange, and a 4cm (1½in) piece of ginger, roughly grated. Put the liquid into a preserving pan with the sugar and heat gently, stirring from time to time to help dissolve the sugar.
  • Meanwhile, put a small plate (preferably metal) into the freezer. Put the orange zest and ginger into a muslin bag, tie it up, and add to the apple juice. Bring to the boil and boil until the setting point is reached – 104.5°C on a kitchen thermometer.
  • If you don’t have one, do the wrinkle test (I do both). When the mixture looks heavy and glossy and the rolling bubbles have subsided, remove the plate from the freezer and spoon some of the jam onto it. (Take your jelly off the heat while you test for a set or you could overcook it.)
  • Return the plate to the freezer for a couple of minutes. Bring it out and push the mixture with your index finger. The wrinkles made with your finger should stay in place if the jelly is ready. If it isn’t, put the pan back on the heat and boil again.
  • When the mixture is at setting-point, skim off any scum from the surface of the jelly and discard. Ladle into warm sterilised jars, adding half a cinnamon stick to each if you wish, and seal while warm. While the jelly is setting, shake the jar gently to ensure that the cinnamon stick doesn’t stay at the top. Wipe the jars clean with a warm wet cloth, and label. Keeps for at least a year.


  • Makes about 3 jars

We’ve also got some veggie Xmas recipes for you here

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