Crab Apples

6:05 PM Posted In , , , Edit This 0 Comments »
Every year I start something like this and ask myself why. I have aton of work to do in both my shops, a craft fair to preparefor and holiday season fast approaching but I just can't seem to leave food alone. There is something about taking those finished jars out of the canner, lining them up on the table and waiting for the little "ping" that just warms my heart. My husband's appreciation for all manner of pickled and preserved vegetables and fruits add something to the appeal, as well. This time, the distraction was my brother's fault.

Nate called me out of the blue on Saturday and asked if I knew anyone who made Crab Apple Jelly. He said the tree in his yard was so loaded with little apples, he was afraid it was going to start losing limbs, did I want any. I said I would come and get some on Sunday afternoon and immediately went to get grandma's old Ball canning cookbook.

Silly me.

We spent 3 hours pulling little apples off that tree, which really was loaded. I've never seen so much fruit on a single plant before. It has been a great growing year - lots of sun and rain. I'm really grateful for that because it was nice way to spend some time with my brother. We rarely see each other because he works weird hours and our interests are completely different. He's a NASCAR and sports man, I play with beads and like role-playing/culture building games. It would be hard to play Settlers of Catan while watching the races, I think. Working with him brought back memories of stacking wood together down in the basement when we were kids. He is 6 years younger than me but was able to stack a stable row much faster. It must be a guy thing.

Anyway, I ended up bringing home 2 and 1/2 huge reuseable grocery/tote sacks full. Maxx and I washed them all this afternoon and now my kitchen table is piled right full of them. I thought I would give my back a rest and share some photos and a recipe before I get back to work on them. As you will see, Maxx petered out before everything was done.

The recipe I will use is from my grandma's Ball canning recipe book. I borrowed it sometime after she had her stroke and never returned it, which is good because it would have either been pillaged or burned by my plundering cousins. It is one of the few things my mom and I were able to salvage and to me it is a true treasure. I do not know its year of publication because the cover is missing but it does have color photos and the last page before the index states "Government regulations based on rubber and metal shortages prohibit the manufacture of the complete BALL line during the war, but There Will Always be a Ball Jar suitable for all methods of home canning."

Here's the recipe:
(text and directions altered to suit new language use and canning recommendations, ingredients list and preparation info remain the same.)

Crab Apple Pickle
1 gallon crab apples
6 - 8 cups sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
3 cups water
4 cups vinegar
1 stick cinnamon
1 TBSP crushed ginger
1 TBSP whole Allspice
1/2 TBSP whole cloves

(I will be leaving out the cloves because both Molly Bryn and I have a strange reaction to cloves - we get sore throats that lasts for days within minutes of eating something spiced with cloves . A real bummer at Christmas Eve when everyone else is drinking Wassail.)

Wash and pierce each apple with a needle. Heat sugar, liquids and spices (tied in a bag) until sugar dissolves. Cool. Add apples and simmer until tender. Let stand for several hours or overnight. Pack cold apples into hot jars. Boil the sirup to the desired thickness and pour over the apples.

Since we live in an era of super bugs and wimpier intestinal tracts, I will be processing my quart jars for 20 minutes in a boiling water canner. Pint jars could be processed for 15 minutes and be safe. You can read more info about processing times at bellaonline. If you are unfamiliar with the process of canning food, you can open a PDF titled Let's Preserve, Caning Basics from U of Nebraska here.

So - off I go to make some dinner and pickle some crab apples. Tomorrow after the pickled ones have been processes, I will make Crab Apple Butter with the enormous amount of apples left over. I'll report back in a day or two to let you know how it goes.

I hope Maxx wakes up before bedtime!


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