Low Sugar, No Pectin Apple Peel and Core Jelly Recipe

There are few things I hate more than food waste. So when I realized I could make delicious human food from fruit scraps that, years ago, I would have thrown in the garbage, I was thrilled.

Years ago, I typed about turning fruit peels into yummy syrup, but I recently learned you can also use fruit peels and pits (or cores) to make jelly.

Since I've been making a lot of applesauce lately (see my super easy method here), I've been saving up apple cores in the fridge. Generally speaking, I don't peel our apples, but if you do, you can save up the peels, too. And with those cores and peels, you can make scrumptious jelly.

Even more good news? The recipe doesn't require pectin, so you can use as little sugar as you like!

If you are new to canning, please review basic canning procedure, here.

Low Sugar, No Pectin Apple Peel and Core Jelly

1. Place a bunch of apple peels and cores in a large pot. Cover, just barely, with water. Bring to a boil.
Cooking down the apple cores.
2. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the cores and peels are mushy and the liquid is reduced by about half.

3. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the liquid. (Use a stainless steel bowl to catch the liquid; ceramic or glass may break when the hot fluid touches them.) Toss the peels and cores to your livestock or throw them in the compost. Measure the liquid.
Straining the jelly.
4. Wash the pot. (You don't want any bits of apple debris in your jelly.) Pour the liquid into the pot.

5. Add granulated sugar. You can use as little or as much as you desire. My original, old-time recipe called for 1/2 cup granulated sugar for every cup of liquid, but I think that's quite a lot. I used about 3 1/2 cups of sugar for every 5 1/2 cups of liquid, and even that might have been more than was needed. So I recommend adding perhaps a half cup of sugar at a time, letting it dissolve, and tasting the mixture until you like the flavor.

6. If desired, you can also season the jelly. I used a little ground cinnamon and ground cloves. You could use cinnamon sticks and whole cloves, too, and just fish them out before jarring the jelly. Or try a little apple pie spice.

7. Add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice for every cup of liquid. This keeps the jelly acidic enough to safely can. (If you want to freeze the jelly, you may omit the lemon juice or use freshly squeezed lemon juice.)

8. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring frequently. When the jelly reaches 221 degrees F., it's done. Remove it from the heat.

9. Ladle into hot jelly jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Or, allow the jelly to completely cool, ladle into freezer safe containers, and freeze.
Oh so yummy!
P.S. Worried about the poison in apple seeds? It is true apple seeds contain amygdalin, which breaks down into hydrogen cyanide when chewed. But according to Nordic Food Lab (and many other expert sources), when exposed to even a little bit of heat, cyanide is no longer toxic. In other words, his recipe won't harm anyone!


  1. Going to try this today. Thank you!

  2. 3.5 cups of sugar would be tge traditional amount for 6 cups of liquid. Is one of those measurements a typo because this recipe uses more sugar as written.

    1. The directions say to start with 1/2 cup of sugar :) You can add more if you want to, but you certainly don't have to.