It was recently discovered that the Large Acorn Bag-A-Nut machine does an excellent job of picking up crab apples. If you have any crab apple trees, you might think they’re just a nuisance, but instead of disposing of them, collect them and use them for cooking! Their tart taste may be strong for some, but many creative people have come up with delicious recipes utilizing this unique fruit. Crab apples are similar to regular apples and can therefore be used in a variety of recipes where you’d usually just use apples. Crab Apple Pie filling, Spiced Crab Apple Butter, Crab Apple Jelly, and Crab Apple Cider are just a few recipes we’re sharing today, but there are so many more you can find!
Crab Apple Pie Filling (From Preparedness Mama)
12 pounds apples (washed and cored, no need to peel)
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups Clear Jel
1 tbsp cinnamon (to taste)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (to taste)
1/8 tsp ground cloves (to taste)
5 cups apple juice
2 1/2 cups cold water
3/4 cup lemon juice
1. Cut apples into 1/2 inch slices, place in ascorbic acid solution if you wish. Measure 33 cups.
2. In a large pot, heat 1 gallon of water to boiling and add 6 cups apples slices. Return to boiling for 1 minute.
3. Using a slotted spoon, transfer apples to a large bowl and cover.
4. Repeat with remaining apples. Measure 24 cups.
5. In a 4 qt dutch oven combine sugar, Clear Jel, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir in apple juice and the cold water.
6. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and boils.
7. Add lemon juice, boil one minute, stirring constantly and pour over apples, stirring to coat.
8. Spoon hot mixture into hot quart jars, leaving 1-inch head space, remove air bubbles, wipe rims and adjust lids.
9. Process in water bath canner 25 minutes. Remove jars from canner, cool.
Spiced Crab Apple Butter (Makes one 15 oz jar) (From Lovely Greens)
17 oz crab apples
14 fl.oz water
1 tsp whole cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1.5″ stick of cinnamon
8 oz dark brown sugar
1. Halve the crab apples and put them into a suitable sauce pan with the water, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Bring them to a boil and then reduce heat to keep a steady simmer on for about 45 minutes or until it can be beaten into a thick pulp. Make sure to stir occasionally.
2. Put the pulp through a vegetable mill or fine sieve and measure the final weight of the resulting apple purée. Return it to the cleaned pan and stir in 12 oz of dark brown sugar for every 1 lb of apple purée.
3. Set the pan on a low heat and stir for the sugar to dissolve. Bring to a boil and keep boiling, stirring frequently, until the butter is very thick. If you draw a spoon through the mixture it should leave a path behind it. This can take 25 minutes to an hour to achieve.
4. Put the butter into a warmed and sterilized preserving jar(s) and tighten the lid immediately. The butter will be ready to use as soon as it’s cool and can reasonably be stored as-is for up to a year. Since the recipe includes high-acid fruits, there isn’t a need for hot-water bathing or any further preservation.
Crab Apple Jelly (From Martha Stewart)
4 pounds crab apples
6 cups water
3 cups sugar
1. Wash and quarter apples; place in a 6-quart saucepan. Add 6 cups water; place over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; cook until very soft, 45 to 60 minutes; remove from heat. Pour into a bowl through a fine mesh strainer lined with two layers of damp cheesecloth. Gather cheesecloth; tie into a bundle. Suspend from a wooden-spoon handle set over bowl; drain, without pressing solids, 1 hour, to yield about 4 cups juice.
2. Place juice in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes; skim foam. Add sugar; stir to dissolve. Clip on a candy thermometer; cook until the temperature reaches 220 degrees, skimming foam. Pour into jars, let cool, and keep refrigerated for up to 6 months.
Crab Apple Cider (From Magical Mama)
1. Collect a bunch of crab apples.
2. Wash them and use a paring knife to cut a wedge off (avoiding the stem and blossom end), then cut off another side and another, till you have the core with the top and bottom left. Avoid wormy spots or bad areas. If the trees have not been sprayed there’s likely to be lots. Oh well! It’s organic that way and it’s still free food.
3. Put them in a big pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until they are very tender and they have lost much of their color.
4. Line a strainer with some cheesecloth (optional) and scoop it into the strainer over a big bowl.
5. Return the liquid to the pan and add sugar to taste. Bring back to a simmer to dissolve the sugar and add water if it’s too strong. If it’s not strong enough, simmer to reduce it until it’s just right. Serve warm or chill.
If you’ve been wondering what to do with your crab apple crop, pick a recipe and start creating. We’re coming into the holiday season, so it’s the perfect time to make delicious new treats!