With the help of my Mom, I finally got around to making the crabapple pickles. Crab apples are a small hard apple that seems to grow wild just about everywhere in the upstate NY countryside. According to Wikipedia ( I know I know not always an accurate source) the crabapple is used to help pollinate orchard apples, and at times it is used as a root stock when grafting due to its cold hardiness. Any way. This is one of those foods from my childhood that I have never had or heard of in any other place. My Mom’s cousin was here the other day and told her the crabapples up in Osceola go to waste right on the trees. No one even knows they make good eating.
Grandma C.’s Crabapple Pickles
7 lbs of crabapples
1 qt vinegar (apple cider vinegar is best)
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs cloves
1 tbs allspice
1 tbs mace or 1 tsp of nutmeg
cook syrup 2 mins. Add apples and cook slowly so as not to break them open. Simmer until apples are tender. Pack in warm jars and seal. Half a batch made six pints.
I only had about 4 pounds of apples and we were able to halve the recipe. I understand there is lots of pectin in crabapples and that they make a delicious jelly. But I have never made it. Maybe next year. Although I am not a big meat eater (basically only fish and sometimes chicken these days) I am thinking a pot roast with crab apple pickles is in order one of these days. Or some sliced and fried venison would be even better. I wonder if they would make a good ice wine?
Oh and it is now November and I just opened my first jar a couple days ago, they are a spicey tart treat, I find myself thinking about different meals I can make that the pickles will go with. Today it was a plain old boring tuna sammie on wheat bread, the pickles added a lovely zing to the meal.