Thursday, October 22, 2009

Crabapple Jelly

I used to work in a team and our big boss there did not believe in deadlines. He was a medical doctor and maybe that had something to do with it. He, IMO rightly believed that deadlines were an artificial constraint that did nobody any good. I rarely remember a time when someone took advantage of it and took forever to finish something. Well there are always dead weights but most work got done on time. The team then got bought by a behemoth where managers(well most everyone was one) lived and died by deadlines. There was even a manager to manage the deadlines. For the few years I was there nothing ever got done by the deadline and it was a moving target. Triage and feature cuts were normal and the morale was generally low. Deadlines are not bad when they are reasonable and serve a purpose.


So if deadlines are detrimental in the workplace I bet they are more detrimental in everyday life. We set deadlines for ourselves to accomplish from the time we wake up till we go to bed. A lot us no wonder feel stressed out. Add financial insecurity, demanding job and uncertainty to the mix. We become walking disasters. In the end small things like cooking meals, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping etc all add to this stress.

straining the juice

It certainly pays dividends to not sweat the small stuff but it is easier said than done. Rushing from one activity to the next with this ever present pressure at the back of the head of the deadlines to meet however small they may be is indeed stressful. For a day I decided to move away from rushing and do things at a slow pace, lingering longer on those I liked without rushing off to do the next activity on time. It felt good and I had the feeling of contentment of enjoying the day for what it is. It also happened to be a beautiful day and a impromptu nice walk was just the right tonic. At the end of the day everything got done (they usually do if you stress or not) but with a lot less stress and pleasure. I know it is not always practical to not have deadlines but like DH says it is not always good to let life take over instead of living it. Helps to do a reality check every now and then. What say you and do you sweat the small things?

Mixed with sugar and set to boil

I not only believe in not wasting the produce that comes out of my backyard garden, looks like I has also taken upon the responsibility of not letting go waste produce from my neighbor's gardens as well! My friend has this beautiful crabapple tree in her yard and the clumps of red crabapples look so very attractive and jelly was the first thing that came to mind when I saw them. Mostly they are for a purely ornamental purpose but I love the puckering taste of those crabapples and it seemed a shame to let them rot, collected about 4 cups of these crabapples to give it a first try. I searched for some recipes and was quite surprised at how easy they sounded. I followed the recipe from Life Time of Cooking . I delayed removing from the heat by a minute and so the jelly got a bit more thick but still tasted very good. Nothing can be more simple than this, the simplicity surprised me. I am on the lookout for the next fruit to make a jelly out of.

Now is the season for crabapples so go shake some trees. A lot of them are on the medians and road sides :)

1. 4 Cups of crabapples stems removed and ends cut and cleaned and cut in half
2. 1 1/4 cups of sugar
3. lime juice from half a lime.
4. 2 Cups of water
5. Cheese cloth for straining
1. In a heavy bottom pan deep enough (so the boiling syrup does not splatter all over) add the crabapples with 2 cups of water. Water just enough to submerge the fruit.
2. Let it boil till the fruit becomes soft,squeeze in the lime juice (10-12 minutes)
3. Strain the juice into a container through the cheese cloth, (some recipes recommend to leave it overnight for the juice to strain and not to squeeze it, but impatient me went ahead and squeezed the juice out.
4. Now transfer the juice and sugar to the pan and let it boil. Once the syrup starts to coat the spoon switch off the heat. Or like Ganga says, do the cold saucer test, a drop in a cold saucer should not move around.
5.Transfer to a sterilized jar[boil water and rinse the glass bottle in the boiling water and let it air dry]

The color was fabulous. We are planning on making a slightly bigger batch over the weekend.


  1. Wonderful! I had no idea about making jelly from the juice of a fruit ... I thought usually pureed stuff is used. This does look so so colourful ISG! :-)

  2. Indo, in the profession I am in, there are always deadlines and few of them being met, which affects the quality of the work. Ultimately, what results is an unsatisfactory hotch potch with the aim being "finish the work somehow", without there being enough time for reflection about the work and adding value. I appreciate what you're saying about not letting deadlines take over your life, but when there's a product out there waiting for a timely input, we have to make an effort to meet them. Planning ahead will make deadlines better - one has to factor in the fact that their input is needed, then things will become easier.

  3. I am with you on this sweating small things. I believe that is more related to your physical health as I have seen some people who cannot live without deadlines even though you given them a million year to do their stuff. I realized it once I got into project management and from then I am a stree free project manager. Sounds ironical right ;) How does the crabapples taste ? The red color is lovely and I have drooled the fruit jellos from Ganga before.

  4. Sharmila, that is what is thought too, I might wrong here but here we go, if the fruit is pureed and pretty much cooked the same way it is called jam and if the strained juice is used it is called jelly.

    Sra, in real life I do understand deadlines are necessary especially fortime sensitive stuff but for others it simply does not lead to quality of work. I do not have a solution for work related deadline stuff. I am more talking about the deadlines that we set in our life for small stuff.

    Nirmala, kudos to you the sort of manager I'd love to have :)
    Crab apple tastes bit like apple but with a tart taste as for the jelly the tartness is hardly noticeable but when you do it gives a slight kick.

  5. I always thought this was used to folower arrangements etc....

  6. Deadlines, yes i used to have alot of them, still do; but, nowadays, i tend not to panic and try to meet them in as much a stress free way as possible.Of course, that means, a bit more planning.

    The jelly looks so lovely with that striking colour; all I need right now are some crabapples :-)

  7. Indo, I am with you about the deadline. It is good to have, just don't abuse it. btw, I have a crabapple tree in my tiny balcony, still struggling with the living space so it doesn't produce too many apple

  8. looks so great indo! I have a crabapple tree in front. I should use it next time :)

  9. Hi Indo, you jam looks divine. Congrats on making it and finding out how easy it really is. I do hope you make many more jams in the future. xx Ganga


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