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Pickled Crab Apples: A Very Old Family Recipe

Pickled Crab Apples: A Very Old Family Recipe
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  • Pickled Crab Apples: A Very Old Family Recipe

    Post #1 - August 10th, 2006, 3:37 pm
    Post #1 - August 10th, 2006, 3:37 pm Post #1 - August 10th, 2006, 3:37 pm
    Summer is the time for family reunions, though our family, like many others these days, is often spread out across the globe. So when we gather every three years it's invariably a great time. At the last reunion, my father's cousin brought this recipe for me. She believes it dates from at least as far back as the turn of the (20th) century when the family lived in Joliet and that it was made by my great-grandmother, Mary.

    Pickled Crab Apples

    1/2 peck crab apples (plump and round)
    1 pint vinegar
    2 lbs. brown sugar
    1 oz. stick cinnamon
    whole cloves

    Boil sugar, vinegar, and cinnamon for 5 minutes. Select firm crab apples and wash. Do not pare, but cut out blossom end, leaving stem intact. Prick each apple several times and stick in two cloves. Cook apples in syrup until tender, about 10-15 minutes. Pack closely in hot sterilized jars. Fill the jars with hot syrup and seal.

    Note: I would use apple cider vinegar, though this is not specified in the recipe.

    Disclaimer: The recipe does not state that the crab apples require further processing. I assume that this is due to the high level of acid in the mixture, but it is best to follow the cautions and directions in your favorite canning manual to be sure. Or refrigerate and eat the crabapples in the near term, like I do, just to be certain that all is well.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #2 - August 10th, 2006, 6:47 pm
    Post #2 - August 10th, 2006, 6:47 pm Post #2 - August 10th, 2006, 6:47 pm
    Mmmmmm, there are few things that are as good as a pickled crab apple with a slice of rare roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. As a kid, I helped my mother make pickled crab apples several times. Her recipe was very similar to (if not excactly like) the recipe above. As I recall, the unopened jars of apples kept for years.

    Now the big question. Where does one pick a peck of crab apples? My family used to drive out to an orchard somewhere to get them.
  • Post #3 - August 10th, 2006, 8:24 pm
    Post #3 - August 10th, 2006, 8:24 pm Post #3 - August 10th, 2006, 8:24 pm
    I've got a whole tree full of crab apples in KC. They'll be ripe and ready in early Sept. It's a French crab, lovely fruit. I planted it to provide the fruit to a pal who (then) made cider with them. He no longer does. So, anyone in the area in a month or so is welcome to come by and get them.

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #4 - August 10th, 2006, 8:49 pm
    Post #4 - August 10th, 2006, 8:49 pm Post #4 - August 10th, 2006, 8:49 pm
    d4v3 wrote:Mmmmmm, there are few things that are as good as a pickled crab apple with a slice of rare roast beef ...


    Such an excellent combination; would like to have it more often, but I don't think we've ever had a pickled crab apple in our refrigerator. :cry:

    Must speak with The Wife regarding this oversight.

    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #5 - August 10th, 2006, 10:14 pm
    Post #5 - August 10th, 2006, 10:14 pm Post #5 - August 10th, 2006, 10:14 pm
    Hi,

    As a retired Master Gardner volunteer, I would like to offer some advice. Many older varieties of crab trees are not resistant to crab apple scab, powdery mildew, ect. In my front yard, I have an older crab tree, which looks terrific in May-June when it flowers and quickly goes downhill. Often it drops leaves before they ever change color because of various fungal diseases.

    There are spray schedules to reduce the apple scab and powdery mildew, which begin before the flowers bud and are repeated often. When we had clients who were willing to do the spraying, we were obligated to inquire if they intended to eat the crab apples. Depending on their answer, we recommended two different chemicals to spray. Lots of maintenance headaches for crab trees are avoided by purchasing disease resistant varieties.

    If you see a crab tree whose pedigree and care is unknown to you, then please inquire if it is disease resistant variety or do they spray. If they spray, then find out what chemical they used and whether it was for edible fruits. If it is important to anyone, I can look up the actual chemicals recommended. I just don't have the book nearby to consult.

    Thanks Josephine for the recipe. I might give it a shot because my crab tree is fruiting presently.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #6 - August 11th, 2006, 5:20 pm
    Post #6 - August 11th, 2006, 5:20 pm Post #6 - August 11th, 2006, 5:20 pm
    Hi C2,

    Here's just a bit from my experience. Most of the crabs one sees around the midwest are the Japanese flowering type. They're old fashioned in the sense of beautiful, but without any selection for disease resistance. Most of the diseases which are expressed in the midwest are of the scab (= fungal) variety, most especially cedar-apple scab, which is a ping-pong type disease, between native cedars and the apples. Even though its results are difficult (but not devastating) for the crab--defoliation by early August--they are quite easily controlled by a sequence of three Spring sprays: one when the bloom-buds are tight, one a week after the majority of flowers have bloomed, and the last one 10 days to 2 weeks after the second spray.

    While I would never say that this regime is fail-safe, it most certainly will keep just about any Japanese flowering crab sanitary throughtout the season.

    Indeed, look for an *astounding* amount of bloom and fruit in the first year following this regime!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)

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