We have a beautiful crab apple tree in the front garden that has pretty white flowers in the spring and produces a great deal of fruit the size of a large olive. This year I decided to make sure I picked them and processed them. My friend mentioned how she used the love eating pickled crab apples at Thanksgiving when she was a child, so I thought I would try to make some.
This recipe is from www.urbannettle.com. I chose it because she used the same size fruit that I have. Once I picked through the fruit I had approx. 10 cups, so I followed these measurements pretty closely. I used 2 cups of apple cider vinegar and 2 cups regular vinegar and only 4 cups of sugar. I only had cinnamon sticks, cloves and peppercorns in the pantry so that is what went into the satchel.
If these work out, I don’t think I would cook the fruit at all, but just pack them into the jars. I only cooked them lightly for 5 minutes and they still cracked and fell apart a little too much. We will see in October!
Maraschino Spiced & Pickled Crab Apples
Makes 8 pints
approximately 10-12 cups unpeeled crab apples stems on
- 4 cups of apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 5 cups sugar
- 1-2 each: cinnamon stick, bay leaf & star anise
- 1/4 teaspoon of each: black peppercorns, coriander, cloves & allspice
1. Before you begin, make sure that your pint jars have been sterilized and there is hot water ready and waiting for preserving in your canner.
2. Wash the crab apples making sure to remove the bruised and blemished ones. Once rinsed, set aside. Optional: If you want you may prick each individual crab apple with a fork to prevent them from cracking and partially bursting during the boiling/canning process. This is NOT necessary but if you want perfect specimens for blue winning state fair entries you SHOULD do this step.
3. Pour the vinegar and water into a large cauldron and bring to a boil. While waiting for the liquid to boil, wrap and securely tie the spices in a cheese cloth bundle that has been double lined. Once to a boil, reduce the vinegar/water solution heat slightly and add the sugar and spice satchel. Stir constantly till the sugar has dissolved for approximately 5-10 minutes
4. Now take the crab apples and dump them into your large soup pot or cauldron. Turn the heat up till they begin bubbling, stirring constantly. When over half the apples appear to have cracks forming on them, about 5-10 minutes, immediately remove them from the heat and pack into sterilized jars. (I prefer ones that have “shoulders” to hold the crab apples in the liquid). Top the jars to half inch below the rim with the syrup.
4. Top the jars with rims, seal and process for 20 minutes according to manufacturer’s instructions. Wait time on this little gems is 4-6 weeks but you could crack one at 2 weeks time and sample.