Author Topic: What to do with crab apples?  (Read 5587 times)

Offline Political Atheist

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What to do with crab apples?
« on: July 01, 2010, 11:23:09 AM »
I have a crab apple tree that produces a ton of tiny apples. I've never done anything with them before and don't really know what to do with them. Does anyone have any recipes, warnings, sage wisdom or other information I should know about crab apples? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Offline Sister Wolf

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2010, 11:38:57 AM »
You made me go do a search for crab apples with this post!  :)  Thank you!

I don't have any first hand advice at all, but I did just read that crab apples are often used as apple pollinators (planted every 6th to 7th tree in an apple orchard).  And evidently the wood from crab apple trees is just as wonderful for smoking as wood from any apple tree.

So if NOTHING ELSE, you can use it to pollinate your regular apple trees (if/when you plant them) and you can use it for smoking meats/cheeses.


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Offline KYdoomer

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2010, 11:55:09 AM »
You can graft wood pruned from real apple trees and get at least one branch making regular apples.

J

Offline Cool Blue

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2010, 12:32:26 PM »
I've seen people around here selling homemade crab apple jam.  Here's a recipe I found online:

http://www.canadianliving.com/food/crab_apple_jelly.php


Ingredients

      6 6lb lb(2.7 kg) (2.7 kg) crab apples
      4-1/2 4-1/2cups cups(1.125 L) (1.125 L) granulated sugar

Preparation:
Remove both stem and blossom ends from crab apples. Do not peel or core. In large Dutch oven, bring crab apples and 6 cups (1.5 L) water to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until softened. Using potato masher, crush crab apples; cook for 5 minutes longer.

Wet and wring out jelly bag; suspend on frame over large measuring cup or bowl. Fill with crab apples; let drip, without squeezing bag, for about 2 hours or until juice measures 6-1/2 cups (1.625 L), adding up to 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) water if necessary.

In large clean Dutch oven, bring juice with sugar to full rolling boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly; boil for 15 to 18 minutes or until gel stage. (See Gel Stage Test, below) Remove from heat; skim off foam.

Using funnel, fill hot 1-cup (250 mL) canning jars, leaving 1/4-inch (5 mm) headspace. Cover with prepared lids. Screw on bands until resistance is met; increase to fingertip tight. Boil in boiling water canner for 10 minutes. (See Canning Basics)
Additional Information:

    * Gel Stage Test:
      • Remove jelly from heat while doing test.
      • Chill two or three small plates in freezer.
      • Place 1 tsp (5 mL) hot jelly or jam on plate and freeze for 1 minute.
      • Remove from freezer. Surface should wrinkle when edge is pushed with finger.
      • If surface doesn't wrinkle, continue cooking and repeat test every few minutes.
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Offline Sister Wolf

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010, 12:35:09 PM »
For the record (regarding jelly):

If you can get the jelly ALMOST to the gel stage, and then add two packets of liquid pectin and boil it for one minute, it'll gel PERFECTLY after you can it.  :)

Edit:  Oh, and you don't need a jelly bag.  You can just filter out the crab apples and cook the liquid down in a crock pot.


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Offline JoshRonin

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 01:15:10 PM »
We made crab apple butter out of ours.  I like it better than apple butter because its not as super sweet.  I looked up recipes a few years ago.  Found one for making wine out of it, but have never tried it.  We had a frost last year which killed all the flowers, so the trees are overloaded this year.  Gonna have a big harvest and I too need to find more things to do with them.
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Offline OKGranny

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2010, 01:22:20 PM »
I really like crab apple jelly, it's got a much better flavor than regular apple jelly, a bit tarter. Apple jelly is just too bland and sweet for me.

Offline Political Atheist

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2010, 09:38:05 PM »
Awesome! You guys are the BEST  ;D

The jam recipe looks doable for a newbie like me. I just took an "intro to canning" class that TSP forum moderator Two Blues Mama recently hosted so this could be my first foray into canning. Can't wait to show her my first project! Josh, do you have a recipe for your crab apple butter? If not, I can do some searches.

Um, does anyone know when they're ready to pick? They look pretty healthy and robust. Does it matter matter much? Since crab apples are on the tart side anyway?

Thanks again!

Offline spartan

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2010, 07:06:42 AM »
You can also make crab apple wine:

http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/reques40.asp
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Offline Lunk

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2010, 05:32:37 AM »
Pick them and mail them to me.  ;D

Seriously tho, I would use them for jelly making. I prefer to make "Natural" jellies E.G. no added pectin and I normally use apple peals for that purpose.
Crab apples however have the second highest pectin content out there, next to Cranberry.

I use the recipe from Larousse, It's well over a hundred years old and works like a charm. Pop on over to the library and photocopy the page. It's well worth it.
I usually make a couple jars of Mint Apple jelly by stirring the pot for the last 2 jars of jelly with a big bunch of fresh mint and then processing as normal.

Be forewarned, natural pectins take allot longer to jell than store bought ones. Do not be discouraged if it takes a week or 2 to set properly.

Offline Political Atheist

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2010, 11:14:33 PM »
Thanks for the info Lunk. If you're in the Denver area you're more than welcome to come pick as many as you want! Nice to know about the mint jelly too. I've got a mint plant that's going nuts!

Offline Lunk

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2010, 02:41:46 AM »
Thanks for the info Lunk. If you're in the Denver area you're more than welcome to come pick as many as you want! Nice to know about the mint jelly too. I've got a mint plant that's going nuts!

Thanks for the offer but I live in Washington.  ;D A bit far to go for jelly, even for me.

Offline Political Atheist

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Update -- crab apples ok to compost? Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2010, 12:55:42 PM »
I've raked up a bunch of fallen fruit and put in my composter. But they're already starting to smell like cider vinegar. Does that eventually go away and break down like other composting greens? I know with the apple rinds it will take a while to break down but I'm in no hurry. Are crab apples good for compost? Thanks everyone!

Offline Ditch

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2010, 01:23:19 PM »
Our Crab Apple trees were originally for the blossoming ornamental appeal. Now though, these trees are producing heavily and then some this year.  After ours turned deep red (almost wine color) I peeled, sliced, and stewed with some sugar and cinnamon.  They are a bit harder and smaller, but work all the same.  These are so sweet this year and by adding a little butter to the mixture, they are great with French Toast, Waffles, or Pancakes in the morning.  My leftovers (without the butter) go in the freezer for the coming winter.

We throw the cores and peels, and rotten apples out in the back field to draw in the wild critters.  Something around here is eating them at night.  One day the wild critters may come in handy as a food source if our resources (economically speaking) keep falling.
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Offline Political Atheist

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2010, 03:29:13 PM »
Mmmmm.... Pancakes ......!    ;D
Your stewed apple recipe sounds really good. I've got a bunch of critters (squirrels mostly) who eat some apples and drop them in the ground. is it okay to put them in a composter? I don't want cut them up but I also don't want a barrel full of apple cider stinking in my backyard. Any thoughts?

Thanks!

Offline Stein

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2010, 12:12:33 AM »
Throw them at your friends, that's what I did.

After you eat about 500 and there are 52,000 left, you really run out of options.

Offline TexDaddy

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2010, 12:48:44 AM »
I vote for the crab apple jelly. My Granny used to make the most wonderful crab apple jelly when I was a kid. It was always the first kind to run out.
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Offline endurance

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2010, 05:43:18 PM »
One of our dogs swears they're tennis balls (they're green) and keeps insisting we throw them for a game of fetch. 
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Offline Cedar

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2011, 12:17:46 PM »
I made a LOVELY pink apple juice from them one year to can up.

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Offline Bubafat

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Re: What to do with crab apples?
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2011, 10:06:52 PM »
Deer food!  Or deer bait if you're a hunter.


Crab apple cider!
http://magical-mama.livejournal.com/58275.html
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