I do not know if it grew wild or if it was planted by the previous owners. It was here when we bought the house. It is beautiful tree in the spring when in bloom. I’ve never really known anyone to do anything with crab apples. I’ve seen them around, but always just assumed they were wild and had no use other than a home remedy for constipation.
I had seen before where they could be used to add pectin when making jelly from other fruit that required pectin. I had just assumed that was it. But we decided to look around online to see if we could make a juice or jelly with them by themselves. We found a couple of different recipes that were all basically the same. I liked this blog post below as it provide the most information.
It sounded pretty easy so I thought I’d give it a try yesterday. I decided to cut the recipe in half.
5 quarts water
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. cream of tartar
Since I’d never done this before I wanted to try a small batch. I also do not have a large pot big enough for the original recipe size. One recipe I found said to make the crab apple juice using crab apples 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. It even said not to use the small dime-sized ones as it may not taste good. Ours are dime-sized, but I thought I’d give it a shot any way to see.
First, I had to get the ladder out to pick some as we’ve pruned the tree to not hit cars parking in the driveway. Some of the crab apples were already too ripened or even rotten, but there were so many that were perfectly ripe.
This is really more of a juice cocktail, but it is yummy. Mine turned out a light pink rather than the darker pink in the recipe. Since I only had a gallon I am just going to refrigerate it all instead of canning or freezing.
I see no issue with using the small dime-sized crab apples like ours except it is tedious. Maybe next year we will remove some of the blossoms on the tree to see if the remaining crab apples will grow a little larger. I know you can do that with other fruit trees. I’m not sure if the size of these are due to over crowding or just this particular variety of crab apple.
There’s still a ton of crab apples out there that should be used before they go bad. Now, to find a good jelly recipe.