Spiced Pickled Crab Apples

Crabapples
niehoff/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0
Ratings (24)
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 10 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: 7 to 8 quarts (30 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
209 Calories
4g Fat
38g Carbs
4g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Turn your next crab apple harvest into succulent spiced crab apple pickles, with vinegar, sugar, and spices, and can them for longer storage. Spiced pickled crab apples are the perfect ​condiment for roasted pork and poultry.

Before you attempt any home canning project, be sure to read what the Ball Canning Jars company has to say about canning safety.

Ingredients

  • 6 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 8 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 teaspoons whole cloves
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 8 pounds crab apples (washed, stems left on)

Steps to Make It

In a large nonreactive pot, mix vinegar and sugar until brown sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil.

  1. Put cloves and cinnamon sticks in a cheesecloth bag, and tie with a string.

  2. Add crab apples and spice bag to the pot and boil until apples are tender.

  3. Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon and pack into hot sterilized jars. Add the boiling syrup to within 1/2 inch of the top. Seal.

  4. Process crab apples in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes. From 1,001 to 3,000 feet altitude, process for 25 minutes. For 3,001 to 6,000 feet in altitude, process for 30 minutes. Higher than 6,000 feet, process for 35 minutes.

All About Crab Apples

Crab apples trees are ornamental with beautiful flowers that produce fruit that looks like miniature rosy-red apples. But their extremely tart taste and hard flesh bear no resemblance to the sweet, crisp hand fruit that is touted to keep the doctor away. For all of that, they do share a common heritage.

At a very basic level, an apple that is larger than 2 inches in diameter is considered an apple, while fruit that is smaller than 2 inches in diameter is a crab apple.

Apples range from sweet to tart and can be eaten raw or cooked. Crab apples have a flavor varying from tart to extremely tart and cannot be eaten raw. Apples are often turned into hard cider but crab apples don't contain enough sugar to be fermented into alcohol.

Common uses for crab apples include jellies and jams because of their high pectin content, but also in crab apple butter, a spread that doesn't rely on pectin. Crab apples also find their way into desserts like crab apple pie and pickles, all of which require significant added sugar to be palatable.

Instead of turning a windfall of crab apples into compost, although that's an excellent idea, get creative by drying them and making fun fall craft projects, wreaths, or witch-head puppets.