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Apple Scrap Jelly Recipe – Waste Not, Want Not

A while ago we visited Stanthorpe on the Granite Belt. In addition to being Queensland’s premiere wine growing region, the cool climate means the area is also well known for fruit growing and in particular, apples. We returned to Brisbane with a mixed case of local apples. Apart from eating the apples as is, one use was in my 5 Ingredient 30 Minute Apple Crumble. The thing about a crumble or almost any apple dish is you end up with a pile of cores and peelings. Sure, you could compost them but there’s life in those scraps yet. How about Apple Scrap Jelly?

Waste Not Want Not
It would be safe to say the food revolution is happening as we speak. It may be learning more about where your produce or groceries are sourced from or how they are made; being more mindful of carbon footprints and local producers; learning about seasonality; or understanding the impacts that intensive production, over production and food waste has on the planet. Food waste is a huge issue for any community, but particularly in developed nations. Imperfect vegetables dumped by the truckload; supermarket lines past their best before dates emptied into industrial bins and even worse, deliberately contaminated so they can’t be rescued; consumers throwing out leftovers or anything over a day old. It’s really shocking when you think that much of the world requires some form of food aid or assistance to ensure they receive at least one meal a day.

The Tiffin’s aren’t living on the breadline by any means but that doesn’t mean we’re not thrifty. We don’t really waste much food at our house. Some of this is because I plan ahead; I’ll happily substitute ingredients for what’s on hand rather than visiting the shop; I’m not too concerned with best by or use by dates and, I will freeze everything. I’m also good at re-purposing. For example, we never have stale bread because it becomes breadcrumbs or crackers. What we can’t eat, we compost via the worm farm or compost heap. So I was very happy when I saw an article about using up apple cores and peels, turning them into an apple scrap jelly. I researched several recipes and have adapted them to Aussie palates with half the sugar than most suggested. The jelly is pectin free too so if you have apple cores and peelings, sugar and lemon juice, you’re set to go.

Apple Scrap Jelly

Apple Scrap Jelly

You may not have 20 or so apple cores all at once so just do what Mr Tiffin and I do and bring your apple cores home from work. Pop them in a zip lock bag in the freezer until you have enough cores and peelings. Red or green, big or small, they all work fine.


  • 20 – 30 apple cores and peelings
  • White or raw sugar (see method below for amount)
  • Lemon Juice – 1tbsp for every 2 cups of liquid


  1. Place cores, seeds and peelings in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook until the apples are very soft (but not quite breaking up).
  2. Strain juice into a large bowl or another saucepan. Don’t be tempted to squeeze out the pulp as this will make the jelly cloudy (but it will still taste fine if you do). Discard apple pulp into compost.
  3. Measure hot liquid back into saucepan with 1/2 cup sugar for each 1 cup of liquid. Add lemon juice.
  4. Bring the liquid to the boil, allowing it to reduce and thicken.
  5. Test: Place a saucer in the freezer with a small amount of cold water to chill. When the jelly is ready, remove saucer from freezer and drop 1/2 a teaspoon of the jelly into the water. If it wrinkles and is firm, it is ready. If it is still syrupy, continue to cook.
  6. When the jelly is ready, pour the hot mixture into sterilised jars, allow to cool and store. For more on sterilising options, follow this link and see my notes at the bottom of the post – it’s easy!

The jelly will have a red or pink tint, regardless of the colour apples you use.


  • There’s a lot of pectin in apple skins and seeds. With these and the lemon juice, your jelly should set easily. I needed to cook my jelly for around 45 minutes as I had a large volume. It took a while to set but as it cooled, of course it also started to thicken.
  • Whilst I bottling these, I added a large stalk of rosemary to second half of the mixture and boiled it for a minute or two more to infuse the flavour. Discard the rosemary before bottling. Perfect for pork dishes.
Apple Scrap Jelly Jars

There’s plenty of information around about food waste so I don’t intend to list it all here. What I have included are three very different links that have influenced me.

Take Part
This article is not too long and provides some simple reasons why food waste is such an issue in the West, when much of the world is starving.

Oz Harvest
A nationwide Australian food rescue organisation that collects excess perishable foods and distributes them to over 500 charities. The website is fascinating and a reminder that there are plenty of people in our own country who require some form of food assistance. Perhaps you could donate a few dollars or buy their popular cookbook?

The Gleaners & I
I first saw this movie as part of QAGOMA’s #Harvest Exhibition in 2014. They had dozens of food related movies including this one. It was both playful and eye-opening at once. The link below is for the entire movie, if you’re keen (and you should be). Read my ‘The Gleaners I’ review.

And here’s an extra article for good measure: www.theguardian.com

So if you think food waste isn’t a problem in your city or town, you’re wrong. Sure, not everyone is going to freeze their apple cores and make apple scrap jelly but it is a good example of how when times were tough, people can innovate. We all need to take some responsibility.

28 comments… add one
  • pamela hayward August 21, 2015, 6:54 pm

    Love your recipe for the use of apple cores. Yum! Have both of the OZ harvest cook books – they are excellent. I am becoming so conscious of food waste and won’t buy any imported fruit/vegetables….do we really need cherries or asparagus that are flown across the Pacific Ocean? Buy and eat local!

    • Fiona Ryan August 21, 2015, 10:11 pm

      No we do not Pamela. Asparagaus from Peru is just criminal. We are simpatico! Thanks for being a regular reader and taking the time to comment.

  • Jan Rhoades August 21, 2015, 7:44 pm

    Lovely post Ms Tiffin. And none of that hanging pieces of muslin onto a four-legged stool and letting the jelly slowly drip through. Looks wonderful.
    We don’t waste much in our home either. Must be in the genes…or I have set good examples leading to good habits.

    • Fiona Ryan August 21, 2015, 10:12 pm

      I actually have a jar of this to give you but forgot. Next time.

  • Glenda August 22, 2015, 12:53 am

    Great post Fiona, I agree with every word.

    • Fiona Ryan August 22, 2015, 3:05 pm

      Thanks Glenda. It probably is a bit of a false economy as far as sugar abd cooking time but you got the drift.

  • Liz (Good Things) August 23, 2015, 6:12 pm


    • Fiona Ryan August 24, 2015, 8:17 pm

      Thanks Liz – a bit of fun and get’s the brain thinking : )

  • sherry from sherrys pickings August 24, 2015, 9:57 am

    this is such a fab idea fiona. terrific idea not to waste anything. i am always picking up fruit and veg in the supermarkets and putting them down again when i see where they have come from. it was a bit disturbing recently to see a fellow blogger put up a recipe proclaiming it to be seasonal when the fruit in question couldn’t possibly have come from australia at that time. eek and that was an experienced foodie!

    • Fiona Ryan August 24, 2015, 8:17 pm

      That’s not very good to hear at all. Sometimes, if I do a recipe but by the time I’m ready, the ingredient is out of season so I’ll wait a whole year to post!

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime August 24, 2015, 7:01 pm

    What a great use of apple cores. I am loathe to throw anything away and this will be a test recipe me for sure when I have the time 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan August 24, 2015, 8:16 pm

      Very sweet Tandy so I halved the sugar but am thinking it could be less again. I’m sure you will adapt with fructose.

  • Jan (agluttonouswife) September 2, 2015, 10:46 am

    fabulous use of the apple cores Fiona, I’ve bookmarked and am eyeing off an apple to start my stash! Jan x

    • Fiona Ryan September 23, 2015, 5:53 pm

      And you can alsways add a few apples into the mix to bump up the numbers. Cheers!

  • Helen October 7, 2015, 2:08 am

    Can l use the leftover pulp for apple butter ? I usually use the skin & cores to make apple butter . Instead of draining off liquid I let it evaporate while cooking . Once reduced I run it through food mill & use the resulting pulp for apple butter. When liquid is drained off is the pulp still useable.
    If you could answer asap I would really appreciate -thank you

    • Fiona Ryan October 7, 2015, 10:01 am

      Hi Helen – I don’t see why your couldn’t. The pulp is still very wet after you have drained off the liquid and depending on how good you are at eating apples, there may be some flesh still on the core. Don’t be concerned about the apples seeds (yes, there is the very faintest trace of cyanide in the seeds but you need hundreds and hundreds to possibly do any damage). I would probably get rid of the stalks as they are quite woody. Let me know how you go.

  • Beck @ Golden Pudding February 11, 2016, 11:52 am

    I’ve got a pile of apple peels and cores in the fridge from making chutney yesterday, so will definitely give this a go 🙂

    • Fiona Ryan February 11, 2016, 7:29 pm

      Yes – just takes some patience to let it boil down!

  • Cynthia October 9, 2017, 3:17 am

    I’m sorry, but I have always thought apple seeds are toxic. I believe they contain cyanide.

    “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1-2 mg/kg is a fatal oral dose of cyanide for a 154 lbs. (70 kg) man. You would need to finely chew and eat about 200 apple seeds, or about 20 apple cores, to receive a fatal dose.” May 20, 2015

    • Fiona Ryan July 12, 2018, 3:12 pm

      It’s true that apple seeds contain cyanide but as you have noted, you would need to chew 200 seeds to receive a fatal dose. There certainly wouldn’t be 200 seeds in a batch and they are strained out before bottling so pose no risk to the health of the person eating the jelly.

  • Julie September 5, 2018, 11:58 am

    Have you ever tried to freeze this? I’m curious what would happen, but don’t want to go through all that time & effort if it wouldn’t work.

    • Fiona Ryan October 1, 2018, 2:35 pm

      I freeze the scraps until I have enough but have never frozen the jelly as it lasts quite a long time, if prepared and stored in sterilised jars correctly. I will say that I have successfully frozen and defrosted both jam and lemon curd, with no ill effects. I’d say, give it a go!

  • Karen Baldridge December 23, 2018, 7:19 am

    I remember my grandmother making her apple jelly from the peelings but she never wrote down the instructions. The apples were canned for pies or other baking needs. Her jelly looked like honey it was so clear. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Fiona Ryan January 7, 2019, 12:33 pm

      You’re welcome Karen. This seems to be a popular recipe this month. Everyone must have lots of apples to eat!

  • Liz December 29, 2018, 4:37 am

    I can’t wait to try this! I have 2 young kids who eat lots of apples, so we frequently have cores and uneaten apple slices left over! I have been saving these for a couple of months now in the freezer. How do I measure out peels and cores from “20 or so” apples? Can I get the proper amount by weighing? If so, about how much? Thanks for your post!

    • Fiona Ryan January 7, 2019, 12:33 pm

      Hi Liz – whilst I usually weigh, this recipe is very much by eye. Sometimes the apples are large green Granny Smiths, sometimes smaller red Royal Galas. That’s why I say ’20 or so’. You could probably have peels, pips and cores for up to 30 and not adjust the recipe. Any more than that, you would need to increase the other ingredients. In the end, it is trial and error, depending on the apples you generally eat and also how much apple is left on the core. Sorry I couldn’t be more help. If you give it a go, please come back and let me know how you go.

  • Sharon October 23, 2019, 3:38 am

    Can I put the juice in the refrigerator and make the jelly later?

    • Fiona Ryan October 30, 2019, 3:42 pm

      Depends what you mean by ‘later’. If you need to set aside the juice for a few hours before you add the sugar and start making the jelly, you’d probably be OK. I wouldn’t chill the juice as this may do something to the pectin in it, which is needed to set the jelly. You can certainly try it with less water but I think it’s better to just allocate some ‘slow time’ in the kitchen, following the recipe.

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