sugar, honey, or other sweetenerup to one cup (optional)
Wash the apples well and remove the stem and blossom ends. Don't worry about peeling or coring them, just cut them into chunks.
Combine the apple chunks and 3 cups of water in a saucepan. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Crush the apple chunks with a potato masher and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a dampened jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth to extract the juice. An easy way to do this is to tie the jelly bag or cheesecloth to a wooden spoon, then place the wooden spoon over a large pot, allowing the juice to drip into the pot for 2-4 hours.
Prepare the boiling water canner. Put the canning rack on the bottom of a large pot, then heat four half pint jars in simmering water until ready to use. Wash the lids in warm soapy water and set aside with the bands until you are ready to use them.
Combine the prepared juice in a saucepan and gradually stir in the no sugar pectin. Bring the mixture to a full roiling boil that can not be stirred down, over high heat, stirring occasionally.
If you are using sugar, honey, or another sugar substitute, add that now and return the mixture to a full roiling boil.
Boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and skim any foam if necessary.
Using a jar lifter, lift one jar and place it on a towel or wooden cutting board. Ladle the hot jelly into a hot jar using a canning funnel. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace at the top (the headspace measuring tool helps). Remove any air bubbles and wipe the jar rim.
Center a lid on the jar and apply the band, adjusting to fingertip tight. Place the jar into the boiling water canner, then repeat the process until all of the jars are filled.
Process the jars for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Turn off the heat, remove the lid, and let the jars sit in the canner for 5 minutes.
Remove the jars with the jar lifter and let them cool for 24 hours. Check the lids for a seal, they should not flex when the center is pressed.
It may take up to 48 hours or longer for the apple jelly to set. It will set even more once it is placed in the refrigerator.
Squeezing the jelly bag may cause the jelly to be cloudy.
Adding some sugar helps the jelly to set up, so without it the jelly may have a slightly softer consistency.
The pectin calculator on the Ball® Fresh Preserving website is a handy tool for knowing how much pectin to use for low or no sugar preserves. It also calculates the ingredient amounts for different size batches of preserves.