Thursday, 8 October 2015

More Than Today: Crab Apples For Eating

Shared post from Lani K’s ‘More Than Today’ blog.

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I found this lovely blog post while researching a bit more for ideas to use all the crab apples we have growing at the Frugaldom Project. If anyone would like to join us in our frugal corner of Dumfries and Galloway in southwest Scotland for some crab apple picking, please get in contact as soon as possible.

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
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
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-flavoured: If 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-flavoured: If 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.

More Than Today: Crab Apples For Eating

I am sharing this lovely blog post for the benefit of everyone on the Frugal Forums who have found themselves in the fortunate position of having access to these tiny crab apples. If you live within easy reach of Frugaldom then please consider joining us on one of our crab apple picking days this month. If you live further afield, why not book a short break and join us for some holiday foraging? (See and ask about our frugalers’ discounts.)

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