The other day our family went over to pick apples at a friends house. Last year I had picked some crab apples at her house and had used them to make some yummy applesauce and apple leather. This year she said she had noticed another tree was loaded with apples that were all red already and she wondered if I wanted them. I was game so on Labor Day we went over to her house. When my husband saw that they were the size of cherries he wondered whether they would be any good, but since I had used crab apples last year both Ula and I assured him that they would work just fine.
When I got around to making them up I also had some apples from my parents trees that I thought I would make into sauce too and mix the two types together. I cooked them both down (separately thankfully) and then I put the little apples through the sieve and the bigger apples I blended up (the tiny apples I had cooked without coring or anything, just washing and the bigger apples I had I did core but I left the skin on.) The sauce from the little apples was quite pretty but I was feeling a little sceptical about it and so I decided to mix just one spoonful of each type before mixing the whole batch. I was glad I did because when I tasted it, it was horrible. If you have ever tasted a chokecherry, it was similar but quite a bit worse. I had to drink a lot of water to get that taste out of my mouth. My sister who was here at the time tried a bite and almost choked. Needless to say, that batch of applesauce all went to the compost pile.
I had thought I would write about using crab apples to make yummy stuff but it didn't work out that way this time. Lesson learned: Not all crab apples are usable. Oh well, some day soon I plan to go back and pick from the trees that I got from last year and then I will make a bunch of sauce and leather.
Crab apples are something that are going to waste all over the country. Most people that have them don't use them and probably would be happy to have you pick them (just ask nicely first). Try a few at first to see if they are good and if they are then you can put up a lot of good food for winter very cheaply!
What are your experiences with crab apples?