A sample crabapple

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Our friends Julie and Greg invited us for dinner, and we’d almost made it to their house when I made Kevin stop the truck.  He did.  “Back up,” I said.  He did.

“What are those?”  I pointed to a tree absolutely loaded with cherry-size fruit.

“Crabapples,” Kevin said.  It was pretty embarrassing that I didn’t recognize them.  I’ve never dealt with crabapples before.

I couldn’t resist.  I filled a plastic bag with them.  When we arrived at dinner, I told Julie that, if her neighbor asks about marauding fruit thieves, she knows nothing about it.

Now I have about 4 cups of crabapples, and a source for more.  Jelly, or liqueur?  Anybody got crabapple ideas?

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  1. Canned crabapples are a sweet memory from my childhood! This recipe sounds about right: http://www.ehow.com/how_4505735_can-whole-crab-apples.html. (I’m positive my mother didn’t use candy red hots though.) We canned them whole in quart jars and ate pretty much everything but the seeds when they came out of the jar. Like apple pie! I must find some crabapples to can this year!

  2. They’re full of pectin. So you can use them in combination with another fruit to make a pretty good jam or jelly. I’m going to be in the foraging market for some any week now when the elderberries start to ripen. “Hedgerow jelly” from the River Cottage Preserves cookbook.

  3. My neighbor next door keeps talking about pickled crabapples.

  4. Liz — Thanks for the link! Those look pretty good.

    Kate — Combining is a good idea. Now, if only I had some hedgerows — I don’t think we have wild elderberries around here.

    Paula — I’ll look into it.

  5. Crabapple jelly is my favorite. It’s easy and foolproof. You strain out all the fruit so no peeling or cutting out bruises, and you’re left with a gorgeous hot pink liquid that has so much pectin it can’t fail to set. As Kate says, if you get a haul of blackberries or ther low-pectin hedgerow fruits, you can pad them out with crabapples. It’s nature’s filler.