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Crab Apples


Bicycle Lee
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I got a bunch of them in my CSA delivery last week. Still haven't done anything with them, but George, the friendly owner of August, a Grocery store, down the street my my house told me that I could make sauce out of them, a la apple sauce.

Peel'em, core'em, cook them down and the run it through a mill.

peel and core? Mine are the size of a thumb nail. How do you peel and core them?

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I always made jelly with mine. Put them in a pot with some water (an inch or so), cook for about an hour, mash them up, and then let the mixture drain through a jelly bag. No need to peel or seed at all. Even the odd leaf won't make trouble.

After you have the crab apple liquid, measure it and add an equivalent amount of sugar. No pectin needed.

Then boil and process like any other jelly.

It's also nice with some spices added: cinnamon, mace, cloves are all good. You can also add some raspberries if you have any around; these add a nice color.

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I made crabapple jelly a few years ago, and it was a beautiful pink color. All the more reason not to peel them. And I believe the seeds add to the pectin content when they are cooking. A food mill makes short work of the residue.

Oh, and I've seen them pickled, too.

Edited by Terrasanct (log)
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peel and core?  Mine are the size of a thumb nail.  How do you peel and core them?

do you have the apples or cherries?...I have cherries dropping in my yard

T

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  • 8 years later...

Necrobump because it seemed like the best place to put this.

 

As part of my clearing out my freezer project, I discovered I had 4 kilos of crab apples, 700g elderberries, 500g of blackberries, 400g rosehips and some stray sloes lurking in the bottom drawer.

 

My solution to this has been to make a simple crab apple jelly (dump crab apple in jam pan, boiled in water to cover generously, 7 parts sugar to 10 parts liquid - lower than usual because I don't have a sweet tooth, juice of a lemon, rolling boil to set point (about 15 mins for me). And hedgerow jelly a la River Cottage Preserves book with the remaining kilo of apples and the rest of the berries is on the way (just done the first boil, waiting to cool to pass through the jelly bag).

 

Like the crab apple in vodka idea up thread, might have to research that. I have many many crab apples on the land :)

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I am going to also add since it doesn't seem to be on thread that I have made pectin water if I am not going to make jelly simply by boiling up the crab apples as if I was going to make jelly, then freezing it for help with low pectin fruits. As the fruit cage develops I will probably do this more. You don't even need to chop them although slicing them in half makes them break down quicker.

 

This recipe explains more if needed, it's just the first I found from a Google search.  The reduction phase is not necessary I think, it's just to keep more space in the freezer.

 

http://www.mountainfeed.com/blogs/learn/37065729-make-your-own-pectin-for-jams-jellies-homemade-apple-pectin-recipe

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I love crab apples, and you used to be able to find them in every grocery store as spiced, artificially dyed red, and preserved in glass jars in any grocery store here in the US. I love them as a side dish to pork. Unfortunately, they have fallen out of favor here. I've looked, and they are available online, but I very rarely risk my credit card that way.

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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I made almost all these things last year! I took two months to decompress leaving my last job and went on a foraging spree!  I did crab apple membrillo (like quince paste, with a flavour somewhere between cranberry sauce and quince paste), smoked crab apple chutney, pickles, and my absolute favourite, crab apple and rose hip jelly.  It has the most amazing silky texture.  Keep at it! 

 

The pic is just some of my haul from last year in the UK - 3 different types of crab apples, wild apples, sloe berries, and rose hips.

IMG_5774.jpg

Edited by logicalidentity (log)
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Wellcome to eGullet, @logicalidentity!  Please tell more about how you made your crab apple paste and your smoked chutney. Crab apples grow in wild abundance near my house, and i've been looking for ways to use the ones with good flavor. This linked post is about one of my attempts to work with them.  It was a huge amount of work.  Others in that topic suggested chutney, but I'm always up for more versions and smoking sounds good.

 

Incidentally, you may enjoy this related topic: eG Cook-Off #67: Apples, which was mainly about cooking or baking with domesticated apples but also made room for crab apples. :) 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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Not crab apples, but I've had good success with making damson cheese with wild damsons and the recipe here, although it's VERY hard to cut if you overset it. I reckon it would work for crab apples too. It does indeed keep forever, I have some that's 3 years old in the fridge that's perfectly good :D

 

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/sep/07/damson-recipes-hugh-fearnley-whittingstall

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  • 2 weeks later...

- I started by cleaning and de-stemming all the crab apples (takes years). 

- Boil crab apples until soft and mushy, about 90 min. 

- Strain through a colander to get rid of the seeds, and push through as much juice and mash as possible.

- Weigh out your mash and juice.  This particular recipe calls for 1:1 fruit to sugar ratio, so if you have 1kg mash, you add 1kg sugar. 

- Then put the pot on low (LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW) heat and watch it like a hawk for the next 8 hours or so.

- Ok, to be fair, the first 2 hours aren't that crucial, but once you start thickening up, you need to be there to stir every 20-30 minutes to make sure its not beginning to stick on the bottom. 

- It will slowly darken and start to appear translucent. 

- The trick is take it off while it looks like slightly chunky crude oil.  Feel free to do the frozen plate test to check for its jamminess, but it takes like 24 hours for it to set up properly. 

- After taking it off, I poured it into a pan lined with parchment paper, put some clingfilm on the top - touching the top so it doesn't form a skin - and let it set at room temp for a day

- Then cut and enjoy!  Tastes like a delightful mix between crab apple jelly and cranberry sauce.  Delish with all sort of cheese, especially stronger blues and aged cheddar.

IMG_5991.jpg

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4 hours ago, logicalidentity said:

- I started by cleaning and de-stemming all the crab apples (takes years). 

- Boil crab apples until soft and mushy, about 90 min. 

- Strain through a colander to get rid of the seeds, and push through as much juice and mash as possible.

- Weigh out your mash and juice.  This particular recipe calls for 1:1 fruit to sugar ratio, so if you have 1kg mash, you add 1kg sugar. 

- Then put the pot on low (LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW) heat and watch it like a hawk for the next 8 hours or so.

- Ok, to be fair, the first 2 hours aren't that crucial, but once you start thickening up, you need to be there to stir every 20-30 minutes to make sure its not beginning to stick on the bottom. 

- It will slowly darken and start to appear translucent. 

Two questions:

First, have you tried just cleaning the crabapples, boiling them, and then pushing them through a food mill? When I make applesauce, I basically don't do much to the apples; I let the food mill do all the work for me.

And second, what about using a slow cooker for the cooking? I recall people ( @andiesenji, maybe?) using a slow cooker to make apple butter, without much risk of burning and much less need for stirring.

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MelissaH

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Yeah, you're probably right, I just don't have a food mill at home :), and use my colander instead.  I suppose a slow-cooker would work absolutely fine, and truthfully not a bad idea.  It might up the time it takes, but there would be much less chance of scorching on the bottom.  I'm sure we all know the horrors of trying to clean a badly scorched jam pot.

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