We have in our yard a species crabapple tree (now about 4 years old), and each fall it has produced more and more pretty dark red apples. Chris has been studying trees in is 4th grade science class and has become very interested in all the different species of trees we have planted in our yard (12 or 13) in the six years we have been here. He brought into the house the other day a perfect unblemished crabapple and wanted to know if it was edible. Being a species (wild) variety, not one of the abundantly blooming but tiny fruiting ornamentals, the answer was yes. I told him that years earlier I had pickled crabapples and that they had been quite good, like miniature spiced apples. He wanted me to do this with these apples so I agreed, provided he did the harvesting. After he and his friend Grace rattled all the branches with large yard implements he presented me with a bowl of apples. Well, after picking out the bug eaten and badly misshaped ones, we were left with about 3/4 lb. of apples. The recipe I have calls for 5 pounds, so I told him that I would see what I could do. After some math to figure how much to reduce the recipe I pickled Christopher's crabapples. Too many for one jar, too few for two, I went with two and made up the difference with the syrup. The pickled apples should be ready by Thanksgiving, when we will serve the pretty little apples as part of our holiday meal.
5 lbs. crabapples (the large wild ones, not tiny ornamentals)
1 qt. apple cider vinegar
7 cups sugar
2 tbs. whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks (more for your jars)
Wash the crabapples, leaving on the skin and the stem. Pierce each crabapple with a fork, puncturing the skin in several places, you can cut out any small
blemishes if desired. Bring the remaining ingredients to a boil and add the crabapples. Reduce the heat and cook just until the crabapples are tender.Pack the apples into sterilized jars and fill with hot syrup to about 1/2 inch from the top of the jar. Place the cinnamon sticks in two of your jars and place a fresh stick into any remaining jars. Seal securely and let sit a month or so before serving. The syrup will be a lovely shade of red, and by time the apples are ready to eat they will have turned pink inside.