|It's a Crab - Apple... get it?|
Today, I will relate the events that occurred a few months ago when the trees were bearing fruit, and I happened to be listening to quite a bit of British literature, such as P.G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster and Jane Austen Novels adapted for radio. Within those stories, I heard how frugal people would pick fruit from the trees and preserve it for the winter months when fresh fruit was hard to find. While considering this, I was walking to pick up the mail from our box at our apartment and I began to wonder what kind of fruit trees were in our complex.
I picked one of the globular pinkish fruits and a couple leaves and took them back to my apartment. I searched on the internet to find a description that matched the fruit I had found.
I discovered that apples are the only fruit with seeds in a star pattern. They are related to roses and also have serrated leaves. I compared my samples with the descriptions and discovered that I had several crab apple trees in perfect readiness for harvest. Crab apples do have an apple-like taste and smell, but are generally a more tart.
So I harvested them. I made Husband go out with me and hold a bag while I pulled the small apples off the higher branches (using a step ladder, of course). I brought them home, and washed them thoroughly. Once they were well washed, I cut them up and boiled them in water. I squeezed them through a cheesecloth and then used that juice to make crab apple jelly.
The first try I got it into my head that I might not have to use pectin, because after doing a little reading, pectin apparently comes from apples, and other relatives. However, I must have done something wrong (or my apples just didn't have enough pectin) because the jelly didn't set. So I boiled it all over again, added pectin this time, and got a quite nice jelly in my re-sterilized jars.
Here's the recipe:
Crab Apple Jelly
Crab Apples (about 8 cups?)
1 box Pectin
3 cups sugar
If starting with whole fruit:
Remove stems and leaves. Cut crab apples in half (or quarters if you have large crab apples) and put them in a large pot. Pour in enough water to almost cover the apples, but not to make them float.
That's it for the recipe. I must admit that every time I hear "Crab Apples" I think of some sort of strange crab with the body of an apple... then I stumbled across this picture: