Thursday, August 18, 2011

Crab Apples For Eating

Naturally, I was curious about this.  There is such an abundance of these neglected tiny fruits.  I can't say that I blame people, what a pain in the keester to pick a bushel of marble-sized produce.  However, we pick cherries, and wild plums, and raspberries...really we don't want to bother with the lowly crab apple.

Still, they're generally ripe after the raspberries and before their larger and more noble relatives, the real apples.  There are a few inquisitive and determined souls out there like me that just may be enterprising enough to attempt a crab apple recipe.  I did this with rose hips last year and now it's a favorite!

I haven't tried any of these yet, but I'm excited to begin a new food journey.

~    *    ~    *    ~    *    ~    *    ~

Crab Apple Jam
yields 8-9 pints

4 cups apple pulp
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 packages powdered pectin
8 cups sugar

Put apple pulp and lemon juice into a large, nonreactive pot.
Bring to a boil.
Add pectin.
Return to a boil.
Slowly add sugar and stir, bringing to a boil.
Boil for 1 minute, or until jam sheets off the spoon.
Pour into hot, sterilized jars.
Cover and process 5 minutes.

Pickled Crab Apples
yeilds 2 pints

1 2-inch cinnamon stick, broken
1 teaspoon allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 1/2 pound crab apples, stems on

Tie the spices into a cheesecloth bag.
Put into a nonreactive pot with:


Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Remove the pot from heat and let syrup cool.
Pierce each crab apple through with a large needle, to keep from bursting.
Put them into the pan of cooled syrup and slowly bring to simmer.
Cook until tender and translucelt, about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Let rest 12 to 18 hours.
With a slotted spoon, remove the crab apples from the syrup.
Pack into hot, strerilized pint jars leaving 1/4-inch head space.
Remove the spice bag.
Boil syrup.
Pour over fruit.
Seal jars.

~    *    ~    *    ~    *    ~    *    ~

Crab Apple Liqueur
From Recipe Secrets

4 quarts crabapples, washed,cored and quartered
4 cups sugar
3 cups vodka

Fill 1 (4-quart) mason jar with tight-fitting lid with prepared crabapples.
Add the 4 cups of sugar and three cups of vodka.
Store the jar on its side, turning once every day for 16 days to help the sugar to dissolve.
After 16 days, filter out the fruit bits and bottle.

~    *    ~    *    ~    *    ~    *    ~

Cedar Waxwing on the Crab Apple, Sandra Cointreau

Crab Apple Hot Pepper Jelly
From Recipe Secrets

2 lbs crabapples
1 1/2 cups water
red wine vinegar
3 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup sweet green bell peppers
1/3 cup hot peppers (mix and match hot peppers for color and preferred degree of heat)

In a Dutch oven, combine crabapples with water.
Cover and bring slowly to simmer.
Cook until crabapples are very soft.
Pour into a colander lined with a square of dampened cheesecloth and placed over a deep bowl.
Weight down with a saucer and heavy can.
Let stand until dripping stops.
Discard pulp.
Pour collected juice into a liquid measure.
Add enough vinegar to make 3 cups.
Combine in a saucepan with sugar.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Add peppers, then boil briskly for 8 to 10 minutes or until set.
Stir for 7 minutes to prevent floating peppers.
Pour jelly into hot, sterilized 8-ounce canning jars.
Seal with two-piece canning lids.
Let cool, then refrigerate.
For long-term unrefrigerated storage, process in boiling water bath for 5 minutes immediately after sealing jars.

NOTE: To test for set, remove pan from heat.
Dip a cold metal spoon into the liquid and hold well above the steam.
Turn spoon sideways and let liquid run off.
When it forms two drops that run together and drip from edge of spoon, jelling point has been reached.

~    *    ~    *    ~    *    ~    *    ~


Goldfinch in a Crab Apple Tree, Janet Zeh

Crabapple Schnapps
From Danish Schnapps recipes

Use freshly picked and fully ripe crabapples. They are fully ripe when the pits have become dark brown.
You can use almost any species - so start with your favourite one, then try some other species.
However, Siberian Crabapple (Malus baccata)and also Chinese Apple (Malas prunifolia) are two species that are highly recommended.

  • Wash 10-20 crabapples and cut them in halves. Leave the skin on.
  • Put them in a clean glass jar with tight-fitting lid.
  • Cover with clear, unflavoured vodka - 40% alcohol content (80 proof).
  • Let steep for 8-10 weeks or more - in a dark place at room temperature, 18-20°C (64-68°F).
  • Shake lightly and taste it from time to time.
  • Strain and filter your infusion into a clean glass bottle or jar with tight-fitting lid.
  • Store (age) for a couple of months in a dark place at room temperature before serving.

Note: If for some reason you are not satisfied with your infusion, there are ways to adjust both taste and flavours:

Too strong-flavouredIf your infusion is too strong-flavoured and overwhelming you can just dilute it with the same kind of spirit you used as base.
Allow to settle for a couple of days or more before serving. Taste it to find out.

Too weak-flavouredIf your infusion is too weak-flavoured you can enhance the flavours by adding a little, little bit of sugar.
True Danish flavoured schnapps should not contain more than 10-15 grams sugar per liter. But of course, you can add as much as you want to suit your own taste.
You can add the sugar directly, but because sugar is more soluble in water than in alcohol, it's usually better to make a simple sugar syrup...
...and add it to your infusion little by little.
Allow to settle for a couple of days. Taste it again, it might need some more.
Never use artificial sweeteners - NEVER! You will ruin the taste.

Remember to keep your schnapps bottle tightly closed and in a dark place before and between servings.

~    *    ~    *    ~    *    ~    *    ~

The Crab Apple Fairy, Cicily Mary Barker

Crabapple Butter
From Recipe Secrets

6 cups sieved crabapple pulp
Grated peel and juice of 1 orange
2 cups sugar, optional
1 tsp cinnamon, optional
½ tsp cloves, optional
¼ tsp nutmeg, optional

Combine pulp with orange peel and juice in a Dutch oven.
Place over high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
Reduce heat to medium and boil gently, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until mixture thickens to desired consistency.
Stir in sugar and spices, if desired, and return mixture to a boil, stirring constantly.
Ladle into hot sterilized half-pint jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles with a narrow rubber spatula or plastic knife.
Add additional crabapple butter, if necessary, to maintain headspace.
Wipe jar rims thoroughly with a clean damp cloth.
Seal and process in a boiling water bath. Process for 15 minutes
Crabapple butter may also be cooled and frozen for up to one year.

Yields 6 half-pint jars.

Now I'm off to beg my generous neighbor for some crabapples...


  1. Hi I just found you on Creative Bloggers Party Hop and just became a new follower! Thanks for the crabapple recipes! They all look great!

  2. Thanks for following, Skye! We've got our eyes on the neighbor's tree, I'll be sure to share a jar with them.

  3. I would just like to say thank you to Lani K for keeping this blog post online for long enough to share it on my own Frugal Blog. I had been researching ideas for using all the crab apples we have and this post popped up and saved the day. I hope you don't mind that I have shared it with our Frugaldom supporters from here in SW Scotland. :)


About Me

My photo
As long as I'm on this journey, rambling through life's exhilarating highs and trudging heavily amongst it's incapacitating lows, I might as well share whatever may be gleaned from my little bits of wisdom and my many missteps. No room for judgment from this broken mama. I'm writing from my heart: raw, open, messy, but saved. And I'm still thanking God!