I generally prefer apple butter over jelly. I like the pulp of the fruit. I suppose I also feel like I am being wasteful if I am just using the juice.
However, some years, I will make jelly just for variety. When I do that I usually have fun adding spices like cloves, cinnamon, or sage to it. You can add a cinnamon stick to the pan or put a few whole spices or herbs in a spice bag or tea ball and let these flavor your jelly as it cooks.
In fact, if your goal is to have fun playing around with spices, rather than to preserve your apple harvest, then you can actually use store bought apple juice.
I walked through the juice aisle of the store a while ago and noticed all sorts of interesting flavor combinations like "strawberry apple" and "kiwi apple." I couldn't help but think that these sounded interesting to make jelly with. Maybe this winter when the gardening is over with, I will try making jelly with one of these juices just for the fun of it.
Preparing Juice for Apple Jelly
Slice or coarsely chop apples. Add 2 cup water for each quart of sliced apples. Cook just until soft (about 30 minutes). Strain through a dampened jelly strainer for at least 3 hours.
For each cup of juice, add 3/4 cup sugar and cook to 220°F. Fill hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and process for 10 minutes in a water bath.
High altitude instructions
1,001 - 3,000 feet : increase processing time by 5 minutes
3,001 - 6,000 feet : increase processing time by 10 minutes
6,001 - 8,000 feet : increase processing time by 15 minutes
8,001 - 10,000 feet : increase processing time by 20 minutes