making sweet pickled crab apples

November 26, 2009 at 11:00 am 14 comments

These gorgeous cherry like crab apples came from my friend Sara’s ornamental crab apple tree.  They’re quite different to the crab apples I picked from Reg’s 40 year old tree in the summer.  The crab apple and clove jelly I made with those was a lovely orange colour and tasted delicious but I wanted to try something different with these; something that would retain their beautiful shape and colour.  Sweet pickled crab apples were the result and we’ll be in for a treat if they taste as good as they look.

To make sweet pickled crab apples
300ml cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
400g granulated sugar
25g fresh root ginger, bruised
5cm piece of cinnamon stick
1tsp allspice berries
1kg crab apples
1tsp cloves

  • Put the vinegar, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and allspice berries into a large pan over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat to a simmer. (note for next time: increase volume of liquid (by a third) as not enough to sufficiently cover the fruit in all of the jars and had to hastily make more.  If there’s too much liquid it can easily be used in other preserves)
  • Remove the stalks and blossom tops from each crab apple and prick with a fork to prevent the skins from bursting.  Add to the hot vinegar.  Simmer very gently until they are tender but not too soft.  Remove with a slotted spoon and pack them into warm, sterilised jars.
  • Bring the spiced vinegar syrup to the boil and boil for 5 minutes, then strain it over the crab apples.  Cover the jars with vinegar proof lids.  Consume within a year.

This recipe is a variation of Pam Corbin’s ‘Spiced pickled pears‘ from the River Cottage Preserves Handbook.  You could use almost any fruit and spice combination – just consider how long you cook the fruit for so it doesn’t go too mushy.  I reduced the cooking time for the crab apples and reasoned the vinegar would continue to ‘cook‘ them over the next few months if they were a little under-boiled.

Before boiling up the fruit I dry packed the crab apples into my chosen jars to check how many I would need and to avoid over-handling the fruit once it’s softened. I thought they’d make nice christmas gifts so invested in some small 110g jars.I had enough crab apples left to make another small batch of crab apple jelly; an unadulterated pink blush coloured crab apple jelly.  Straight up, no fuss.

Entry filed under: in the kitchen. Tags: , .

apple juices and jellies Buy Nothing Day

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Margaret  |  November 26, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    The crab apple jelly takes me back to my childhood. I haven’t eaten it since then!
    Beautiful photographs.

  • 2. Norm  |  November 26, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I’ve never seen crab apples that look like that – stunning!

  • 3. Ann  |  November 27, 2009 at 7:19 am

    These pictures of the crab apples are beautiful. How about showing us a picture of your store cupboard, with all you bottled produce – I bet it looks gorgeous! What a great Christmas gift they make.

  • 4. Nip it in the bud  |  November 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Margaret – thanks. Food memories are so evocative aren’t they.

    Norm – small and perfectly formed sprang to mind as soon as I saw them.

    Ann – now there’s a thought. Maybe I’ll try snapping my preserve shelves just for you ;o)

  • 5. Bilbo  |  November 29, 2009 at 10:11 am

    One day I would love to see your pantry, I think it must be an Alladin’s cave of goodness and beauty.

    • 6. Nip it in the bud  |  November 29, 2009 at 6:27 pm

      the shelves are rather impressive and since you’re the second person to mention it perhaps I will post a picture one of these days. I’m sure it’ll provoke cries of envy and scorn in equal measure

  • 7. Sara  |  October 20, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Beautiful photographs. Have some beautiful ornamental crabs – some red, some yellow. I too wanted to do something different – felt these would look (and taste) wonderful on Holiday table.
    So sorry the recipe is in metric. Am sure many of us out here are not familiar with those measurements. But will continue checking the site.

  • 8. Nip it in the bud  |  October 24, 2010 at 9:25 am

    thanks Sara. You’ll not be disappointed if you preserve your apples in this way.
    Imperial measures for the ingredients would be:

    – 300ml vinegar = 10.14 fl oz
    (I’d do 11 fl oz as I recall having to boil up a little extra fluid to cover all of the apples in the jars)

    – 400g sugar = 14.1 oz (if increasing vinegar increase sugar accordingly)

    – 25g root ginger = 0.88 oz

    – 1 kg apples – 2.2 lbs

  • 9. Fiona Mayhem  |  December 2, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Still working my way through this.

    I have a question, if it is not too impertinent. I usually keep jam jars and lids from a variety of shop bought stuff, but when making vinegary preserves I use cellophane, but no lids. These days I have to transport many as gifts, and so lids would be better. Can I just ask, can I see cellophane under the lids that you have trimmed? If so, is there a secret to making it look so neat, and do you still use elastic bands to secure them?


    • 10. Nip it in the bud  |  December 2, 2010 at 11:46 am

      Hi Fiona. It’s lovely to see you working your way round my preserve shelves :o)

      I recycle all my jars too but when I made Marrow Cream I lost a few jars due to dodgy lids. I decided to use cling film as a protective inner liner so that if the jars ever got up ended and came into contact with a faulty lid the contents would be fine.
      So I pull off a strip of cling film, fold it in half and place over the top of the jar as soon as it’s filled. If you use a single layer of cling I’ve found it pops a hole through when the vacuum seal is created. The cling sticks to the glass so no need for a band.
      I screw on the lid immediately and then when the jars have cooled down I trim off the excess cling film using cuticle scissors (curved blades make it much easier).

  • 11. Fiona Mayhem  |  December 2, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Brilliant – thanks for the tip! I must invest in a pair of cuticle scissors.

  • 12. wholesale nfl jerseys cheap  |  May 29, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Hey I am so thrilled I found your weblog, I really found you by error, while I was researching on Aol for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thanks for a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I don抰 have time to read it all at the moment but I have book-marked it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the excellent work.

  • 13. Helen  |  September 26, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    I think I will try this recipe out – thank you!

  • 14. Definitely autumn | silverbells steps out  |  September 26, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    […] have plenty to eat. As for the latter, I was sad to pick them but I also wanted to try out Spiced Crab Apples, which I think will add nicely to the Christmas […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

About Nip it in the bud

Welcome to my once-about-gardening-and-cooking blog that is now mostly about our life in Gloucester with a boy, a baby and 3 cats.

If you like what you found why not subscribe to email updates

Follow Nip it in the bud on

Blog Stats

  • 445,913 hits



"Mummy take a picture and put it on share.  It's my greatest Mixel yet, he's called Grey" - Euan aged 6. #gloucesterlife #nipitinthebudblog #welovelego The boys are asleep and I'm eagerly awaiting the return of @musicalgeorgemoorey to hear all about the latest #spacesgloucester recording.  His kit is all in the hallway but he is not.  Gone for food I expect, the cats are waiting to pounce on him as soon as he walks through the door (and yet I have fed them, they just love him that much)
#gloucesterlife I'm thinking it's about time I made these brie baked apples with hazelnut crust again.  For a no-added-sugar version you could poach them in fruit juice or herbal tea instead of syrup (recipe on my blog)  #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #bakedapples🍎 L's been pondering what he wants to be when he's older!  #photogridwowcam #gloucesterlife #nipitinthebudblog Billy scratching to be let out and annoy @musicalgeorgemoorey as he records a piano track downstairs for the next #spacesgloucester track.  Billy always wants to get in on the music making but it's especially appropriate this time as the song is based on a poem by 9th century irish monk about his cat Pangur Bahn!  #gloucesterlife #whitelonghairedcat Picnic lunch with our @oxouk measuring cups again.  It seems to make the whole thing about getting toddlers to eat a bit less overwhelming and takes away that adult thing of needing to clear your plate.  We just all have forks and dig in to what takes our fancy.  Yes I have no idea how much L has actually eaten when we do this but I'm learning to trust his little body.  I like the mantra "we choose what he eats, he chooses how much" so as long as I keep offering nourishing food it will all be ok :0). #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #fussytoddler #oxogoodgrips #picnicfood When the chocolate brownies that popped up in your feed are on your mind all morning but you're feeling inspired by your sugar free friend @darojolu you find yourself eating these for elevenses!  Banana and date squidgy oaties, an old recipe from the blog with a new sprinkling of unsweetened cocoa and @pulsinandbeond pea protein.  1 banana made 6 cookies and if we eat them all in one sitting there's absolutely no guilt! #nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #sugarfreekids #sugarfreecooking #pulsinpeaprotein #newblog post - reflecting weekly  on the beauty in every day moments, reasons to be thankful and celebrating small successes with the #myheartylife linky.  More about staying at home with children, decluttering successes and beautiful music on the blog - link in profile.  If you're liking the good cheer of #myheartylife  check out @the_hearty_life who started it all and @mummytodex and @mymamamusings 
#nipitinthebudblog #gloucesterlife #mumbloggeruk #feelingthankful #stayathomemum Loves the park but loves dogs more so kept trying to get out the gate! #parklife #gloucesterlife

Follow me on Twitter

Featured posts elsewhere

A Gardeners Voice Featured Blog!
TOTS 100 - UK Parent Blogs

%d bloggers like this: