Are all crabapples edible?

northspruce(z3a MB CDA)August 18, 2007

My crabapple tree has a bumper crop and I was thinking of making jelly, but I'm not sure if all crabapples are ok to eat. I mentioned it to my neighbour (the tree is on our property line) and he said bah, you can't eat those, they're ornamental. They are very small apples but dark red. I don't know the variety. Does anyone know if all crabapples would make decent jelly or should I go raid the tried and true trees down at the veterans' park? (they're first come first served)

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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Are the apples tiny, smaller than cherries?

Hmph. I was just going to be clever and run down to get the tag for my new crabapple, but it wasn't there. I mean it was there before, right in that drawer, but it's not now.

Oh well - someone else will have to answer now! I think the tag said they were edible, but i can't say for sure.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 12:02PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

It seems to me that I remembered reading that all apples are edible. I researched a bit on the web and came up with this...

"While all crabapples are edible, fruit of many ornamental crabapples are not palatable without first cooking and sweetening the fruit."

Another site mentioned that all apples have roughly the same size seeds. So, by the time you cut up those tiny apples and remove the seed cavity, there may not be alot of pulp suitable for cooking with.

But, don't go by my word alone, it would be interesting to hear other's wisdom on the subject if all apples are edible.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 12:53PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Marcia - I would say they are about the size of a regular commercial cherry. Maybe a tad smaller.

Glen - I had no intention of coring them all, yikes! I figured I would just boil/mash them all up and strain the pulp of seeds & skin, then boil some more and put the pulp through a jelly bag. That's what I do with Nanking cherries. On a side note, I never thought of it but what you say about the same size seeds seems true from what I've seen.

I thought they would make a nice jelly because of their dark red colour, but I'm concerned that they would be bitter or somehow unsuitable. Anyone else? I'm dying to preserve something, I had no veggie garden this year and missed canning tomatoes!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 1:09PM
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sazzyrose(2b Sk)

Gillian, I have made jelly from the ornamental crabs. The jelly turned out fine.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 5:20PM
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Gillian, I wonder whether you might have a Dolga apple tree. They have small dark red oval apples on them. I have 2 mature trees that were already here on the acreage when we bought it. I have made juice (really tasty and great color) from them but I know people who have picked mine have picked them to use for jelly. Why don't you google Dolga apples and see if they are the same?

I also have an ornamental crabapple tree and its fruit I would describe as being a reddish purple. They look like little round apples just a touch larger than a marble. I know that the deer and birds will eat the berries, but they are hard and unappetizing for me so I never have used them.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 7:25PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Brenda, i think i must have the same ornamental crab as you do. I really wish i knew what happened to the tag, though! I haven't seen anything eating them yet - the birds cleaned out the Nanking cherries but haven't touched the crabapple a few feet away.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 8:58PM
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If you have a Dolgo, you have a type of gold mine. The juice of Dolgo is usually high in natural pectin and you can use Dolgo juice with other fruit instead of Certo. My wife used about 1.5 to 2 cups per gallon of other juice. Check the web for recipes. I planted a new one last year but it did not bloom this year so hopefully it will bear fruit next year.
Here is a site about using crabapples etc.


Here is a link that might be useful: About crabapples

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 12:42AM
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Clayton, what a great article about the crabapples! I printed it out. It gives the step by step process to how to make and how to test the apple juice for natural pectin, so that you can use it in recipes instead of Certo. Also, I love all the different recipes at the end of the article.

I have made hundreds and hundreds of gallons of apple juice over the years but never used the juice instead of Certo in jelly recipes.



    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 7:21AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

That is a great article Clayton, thanks. I can quickly rule out Dolgo as the cultivar though, as the flowers are dark pink and not white. It was very pretty in the spring.

I did a quick look around some lists and it looks a lot like 'Prarifire'... although I think the fruits of mine are bigger.

I think I will go down to the park and see what the trees there look like - I know they have a larger fruit and make good jelly. Thanks everyone for your help.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 9:30AM
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I have a red splendor that has a bumper crop, and the fruits are about the size of a marble.

All crab apples make good jelly with the right amount of sugar ;)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 8:41PM
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Welcome to the Far North, Snowguy!

When I googled 'Red Splender' the red fruit on the tree look like they would give a really nice color to the apple jelly.

Do you use a pectin to make your jelly or let it set by boiling it with sugar only?


    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 11:43AM
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I have been making Crabapple jelly for 25 years.....using the Dolga Crabapples....first juicing the apples with a double boiler juicer, canning the juice in August and then making jelly in Oct-Nov, when climate is dryer....use the recipe in the Sure Jel box and it makes wonderful jelly - last year made 300 jars off the one tree....and have made as many as 400 8oz jars in a season.....over the 25 years my tree has rested (no apples) about 4 seasons....

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 5:02PM
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I don't know if all crabapples are edible but last fall I made some crabapple jelly from a neighbor's tree (variety unknown). It was quite good. I also made a dessert wine from it, also good. In addition another neighbor has a crabapple tree that fits the description of the tree that you have. I researched it and it appears to be a variety called "Sargent". The fruit is red, small, quite tart and tannic but it is edible. I plan on trying to make both jelly and wine from it this coming fall. I have tasted and eaten its fruit but it is too tart and tannic to enjoy, however jelly and wine might be another story. I am still alive by the way. You could give it a try. The recipe for the jelly was from "The Joy of Cooking". Good luck

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 5:50PM
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