Many people love crabapples because they bloom early, are covered in little red fruits all late summer and have a fruit that hangs around. The fruit makes great winter "bones" in a garden since it lingers on the trees long after the leaves are gone and the snow is on the branches.
I like to think about the sheer usefulness of the tree. A crabapple fruit is about the size of a quarter and quite tart. They were planted everywhere at the turn of the century. What people may not know is they have their own Pectin... so there were very easy to make jelly out of and were a no fuss, reliable fruit...all you do is add a little sugar and boil. And, they are very hardy, tough as nails, and drop a little fruit late in winter for animals.
I like the tree because of the density of the apples... it isn't uncommon to have 20 in 12 inch square area so they make a great ornamental tree. They are also heirloom and grow on their own root stock... just drop a seed in the ground and you will get a tree.
So.. how do you make jelly...?
- Pick 2 quarts of crabapples
- Take off the stems/halve
- Cover (barely) with water
- Cook 30 min to 1 hour (but not totally mushy)
- Drain and hang in a friuit bag
- Give just ONE little squeeze and let drip overnight (don't oversqueeze)
- Boil the dripings - 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of drippings.
- Skim foam and wait for it to jell or roll together when on a spoon.
- If you put it in canning jars, seal, submerse them for 5 min in boiling water.
- You can also just let it jell and keep in the refridgerator for a month.
Now... if you are asking "what is a fruit bag"... he he you are not yet a prepper... if you are saying "my jelly never comes out the same..." and "how long really do you boil it to get it to sheet..." you have done this before and know that every batch, pan and attempt is unique...
Enjoy, add mint, peppers (to make a sweet hot jelly), .. go crazy...