The Last Thing To Do Before Throwing Away Apple Cores

Making the most of your cooking scraps doesn't always entail making a trip to the compost pile. Veggie odds and ends can become aromatics in a stock, withered salad greens can be incorporated into mashed potatoes, and even carrot tops can become a spicy, herby pesto. With all of those crafty food extensions in mind, unsurprisingly, there's a way you can extend the life of your apple cores and apple peels as well.

If you've just finished making a beautiful apple pie or a homemade batch of applesauce, you've probably found yourself with numerous apple cores and peels waiting to get a sweet new life. One way to revive these yummy cast-offs? Turn it all into apple jelly. Combined with sugar, water, and lemon juice and simmered on the stove top, the natural pectin in the skin of the apples and the lingering apple sugars in the core will come together to create a delicious apple jelly. So how do you make jelly out of apple scraps? 

Make your own apple jelly

To turn your cores and peels into a lovely homemade mixture, start with thoroughly washing your peels and cores from about 12 to 15 apples. Though any type of apple will work, tart apples, like Granny Smith, will naturally have more pectin than sweet apples, like red delicious, and the more pectin you can get will help your jelly set up faster. After a good rinse, you'll place your cores and peels in a large stock pot and cover it with a gallon of water. You'll boil this apple water until the liquid is reduced by half and the cores are properly mushy. 

Once this is complete, you'll strain your apple water, removing any apple scrap remnants. Next comes the sweetening and gelling of the jelly — for every 1 cup of apple water, add a 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. You'll cook this mixture to 220 degrees Fahrenheit, the gel point, and then ladle it into sterilized jars for the canning process or immediate refrigeration. With that, you have a solid jelly to use in your sweet endeavors. Pro tip: Brush a bit of melted apple jelly onto your pastries to give a bit of beautiful sweet shine. Or, keep it classic and spread it on fluffy biscuits and crumbly scones. Either way, it's a pretty sweet ending for your apple scraps.