Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Crab Apples

The Ontario government building in the city has about 12 of these beautiful crabapple trees planted around it.  I spotted them last year, but wasn't quite sure what to do with crabapples at the time.  I did some research, and then didn't have any other business in the city that would accommodate crabapple picking. 
I had nearly forgotten about them, until I needed to go to the government building one day.  I asked for permission to pick them, and once granted, we filled two and a half grocery bags.  I figure that's about two bushels.  We barely made a dent in the 'crop', and never used a ladder.  These were all picked off the lower branches.
Back at home, I started rinsing and trimming off the blossom ends and stems.  I found some interesting websites to help with the process.

Crabapple Schnapps

  Enjoy Crabapples All Year Long
  •  Extracting Juice

  •  Pectin Test for Jelly Making

  •  Crabapple Juice Drink

  •  Crabapple Syrup

  •  Crabapple Jelly

  •  Crabapple Sauce

  •  Canned Whole Crabapples

     Crabapple (crab apple) recipes

     Spiced Crab Apples

      So far I've made juice, which is a bit too 'thick' for our liking.  Watering it down seemed to make it more bitter, so unfortunately I don't think I'll be canning any to drink.  I think it might make a nice blend with oranges, so if I can get a deal before I run out of crabapples, I might try that.

     I made and canned pectin, following Canning Granny's example, which took no effort whatsoever.  The juice passed the pectin test on the first attempt.

    I made crabapple sauce, although the boys preferred the second batch, with a bit more sugar, and some cinnamon.

    Today I'll be doing crabapple jelly, which is what I had planned to do initially, but got distracted by all of the possibilities.

    The skins, cores and seeds are going out to the turkeys, so hopefully they'll plant a few crabapple trees in their pen.  It would be so nice to have another source of free food so close to home!  I'll save a few seeds to plant on purpose next spring, too.  I might even be tempted to buy a crabapple tree.

     And there's still at least another bushel of crabapples left to go.  Not bad for urban foraging.


  1. Make sure you whip up a batch of spiced crabapples, the one with red hot hard candy. They go very nice with turkey. Better then cranberry sauce. I have a hard time finding crabapples around here so I make my with my little green apples (no idea what type they are - 100 yr old tree).
    I also have an old quince tree that make the BEST jelly around but this year I was going to try canning pectin made from it's fruit. Guess I better try if you say its easy. Thanks for the heads up.

    Don't you just love gleeming free fruit? Hope visiting the Gov. offices was worth it. hee hee

    1. I think I'll stick to cinnamon for spicing. #1 is the only one around here who can handle those red hot candies. I did find an interesting recipe to make them though.

      I had to look up quince, lol. I don't think we have those around here.

      The visit was a breeze- just picking up outdoors cards for the boys.

  2. Wendy,
    I have one government tree from which to pick. No one else has any that I am aware of. The tree sits on a slope, so I could not stand there long enough to even pick the first one. Like you, I needed no ladder and left the majority of the ones in reach from the ground.

    When I made crabapple jelly, it just tasted like jelled sugar! It's okay, but I didn't put in cinnamon or any flavor. I meant to make my own pectin, but never did....sigh.

    My government crabapple was attacked by the tornado, just like the government pear tree. But the poor crabapple tree survived, just got hacked down about 15 feet during the cleanup. That was not a great pruning job.

    1. The boys are impressed with the crabapple jelly here. #4 wants to take the jar and eat it with a spoon, lol. I did use cinnamon.

      That's too bad, but hopefully the tree will recover.

  3. I love this post! Kudos to your government for planting trees that grow edibles instead of the ubiquitous decorative kind. Imagine how many happy urban foragers it would make if every public building used edible plants in their lanscaping! And you are a fine example of how to make use of least with crabapples :-) I have no doubt that your thirst for educating yourself on how to prepare things for eating would extend to other produce as well. An excellent post!

    1. Thanks, Sue. I'm impressed with the landscape choice as well, although the landscape man seemed almost giddy when I asked if I could pick them. I guess they get tired of having to clean up the fallen fruit. I'd be thrilled if they planted a couple of pear and/or real apple trees on their lot. The building is oddly shaped, with offices and hallways jutting out this way and that, providing a lot of wind sheltered south facing wall space to plant in!