As I’ve mentioned before, we have a crab apple tree. Best of all, there are practically no pests up here, so 99/100 crab apples grew completely unimpeded and with no worm etc.
What do you do with crab apples? I decided to make Crab Apple Jelly, and I stumbled on how to make crab apple sauce along the way.
Basically you simmer the whole, washed apples in just enough water to cover them. They fall apart really quickly and you can help them with a masher. Simmer for more time, I left them on for about an hour or so. Then strain the liquids from the solids.
We have a few sieves as well as cheesecloth so we decided to separate the mash as such: first, take some mash and let it drip drain, no squeezing it at all. Then transfer that mash into a second sieve but this time squeeze it very much. Finally transfer the exhausted mash into a collecting bowl.
The first drip drain resulted in a clearish ruby red liquid (the top left spoon). This is what we make the jelly from. The second squeeze drain resulted in applesauce (the bottom left spoon). The leftover mash (in the strainer on the right) will be fed to the animals, though we have a suspicion that it could be used for brewing too.
We canned the applesauce directly after extracting it – after heating it up again and spicing it up with some sugar and cinnamon.
The jelly needs more sugar added to it than the applesauce, and you have to reduce the volume by almost half, which means a lot of stirring and watching over the jelly else it could burn. You’ll know once you reach the proper stage – your stirring utensil and pot will start getting all jelly-y!
Crab apples are so high in pectin that you do not need to add any for the jelly to set.
My one tree gave us a bit over 11lbs of apples, from which we canned 1500ml of applesauce (3 x 500ml) and around 1500ml of jelly (6 x 240ml).
I quite enjoy the tart yet rich flavour of the jelly. If you need a kick in the pants to help wake up in the morning, I bet Crab Apple Jelly Toast would do the trick!