I Have Two Crab Apple Trees in My Yard. They Are Loaded to the Point of Exploding! Time to Find a Few Crab Apple Recipes So They Don’t Go to Waste.
What distinguishes a crab apple? A crab apple is two inches around or smaller and is tarter than standard apples. I use my crab apples just like regular apples in recipes and they always turn out just as tasty.
Last year I made a couple big batches of my favorite apple pie filling and canned it up. We’ve been eating on them all year. I have two jars left so it’s time to get busy.
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By now you know that I love to buy in bulk. My crab apples are even better – they’re free! Now, what to do with all those apples?
How to Freeze
Whole crab apples, crab apple puree, and crab apple juice will freeze well. To freeze whole crab apples, rinse them and remove the stem and blossom end.
Freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet. When frozen, transfer to freezer bags and use within three months. Juice and puree should be put into a glass or plastic freezer storage containers with airtight lids.
Crab Apple Recipes From Around the Web
So get out there, find a crab apple tree and make one of these recipes. Once you look for a tree, you’ll find them everywhere.
Make Spiced Crab Apples, leave the stems on and can them using the water bath method. Also, Common Sense Homesteading is making Spiced Crabapples with this recipe and gives instructions for canning, and because I can’t get enough, this recipe for Old-Fashioned Spiced Crabapples shared by The View From Great Island looks fantastic.
Joybilee Farms teaches us how to make crab apple fruit leather in this post.
Crabapple jelly is a tasty old-time tradition. Get the recipe from this post at Learning and Yearning.
The University of Alaska – Fairbanks put together a collection of recipes and other tips for freezing, drying and storing crab apples. These include making syrup, fruit leather, apple butter, jelly, and muffins.
Crabapples have enough natural pectin so no additional pectin is needed for this Crabapple Jelly.
Pectin is a naturally occurring complex carbohydrate in fruit that is concentrated in the fruit’s skin and the core. When pectin is cooked, it thickens to a gel. Find out more in the recipe for Homemade Crabapple Jelly from Grow a Good Life.
You can even make crabapple cider from these beauties. A Magical Childhood shares their fantastic recipe. You can also swap regular apples for crab apples in this Preparedness Mama homemade apple cider vinegar recipe (but double or triple the amount of sugar.)
Here’s a very simplified tutorial by The Fantastic Forager on how to do it.
Have you ever considered planting a crab apple tree of your own? This post from Attainable-Sustainable gives you 5 Good Reason to plant a Crabapple Tree.
And here is my favorite Apple Pie Filling made with crab apples. I like to use Clear Jel as my thickening agent for pies because it tolerates the high temperatures used during the canning process.
Crab Apple Pie Filling
- 12 pounds apples (eashed and cored, no need to peel)
- 5 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups Clear Jel
- 1 tbsp cinnamon (to taste)
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (to taste)
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves (to taste)
- 5 cups apple juice
- 2 1/2 cups cold water
- 3/4 cup lemon juice
- Cut apples into 1/2 inch slices, place in ascorbic acid solution if you wish. Measure 33 cups
- In a large pot, heat 1 gallon of water to boiling.
- Add 6 cups apple slices, return to boiling and boil for 1 minute
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer apples to a large bowl, cover
- Repeat with remaining apples. Measure 24 cups
- In a 4 qt dutch oven combine sugar, Clear Jel, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
- Stir in apple juice and the cold water
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and boils.
- Add lemon juice, boil one minute, stirring constantly
- Pour over apples, stirring to coat
- Spoon hot mixture into hot quart jars, leaving 1-inch head space, remove air bubbles, wipe rims and adjust lids
- Process in water bath canner 25 minutes. Remove jars from canner, cool
Deliciously Simple Crab Apple Jam
- 2.2 lbs fresh crab apples
- 2.2 lbs regular apples
- 1 cup sugar
- Juice from 2 lemons
- Wash, peel, deseed, and remove any worms, rot, and unsightly parts from the apples.
- Cut them into small cubes.
- Pour the lemon juice over the diced apples, stir, and cover everything with the sugar.
- Let the mix rest for half an hour.
- Put everything in a heavy bottom pot and simmer in the oven for two to three hours or until the jam reaches the desired consistency. (However, don’t let it get too thick as it tends to further thicken as it cools down.)
- Occasionally stir to prevent the jam from sticking to the pot.
- Pour the hot jam into sterilized canning jars.
- Seal the jars and let them cool upside down under a thick blanket.
- Once cooled, you can store them in your pantry.
Preparedness Mama’s note: You don’t need to add gelatin to this jam to thicken it. The pectin in apples should do the trick. That’s why you should not swap the sugar with a substitute. Pectin needs real sugar to gelatinize.
Plus, you’ll need all the sweetening power to tame the tart flavor of the crab apples. Here’s another way of making jam without the nasty commercial pectin: Make Jam Without Pectin.