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Pickled Crabapples

whole crabapples cooking whole crabapples cooking (photo by jhy)
You will need:
  • at least 2 quarts crabapples with stems
  • 1.5 T whole cloves
  • 2 sticks cinnamon
  • 1.5 T whole allspice
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 3 cups vinegar
  • 3 cups water
large kettles a cooking basket is handy pint canning jars lids & rings bowls, spoons, dipper paper towel This was the first time I had tried these classic pickled crabapples. I learned some things, and I'll share. First of all, you need more than 2 quarts of crabapples if you want to end up with 6 pints of pickles. I had been putting the best of the apples aside as I made juice, leaving the stems on and refrigerating them so that I would have enough for a batch of crabapple pickles. I started with a bit more than 2 quarts, and could only fill 5 pints with some apples left over. spices tied in a clothThen I discovered that I didn't have any whole allspice. I substituted a teaspoon of ground allspice, and it worked fine. The spices need to be tied in a square of cloth. I used a clean piece of old cotton jersey knit. Muslin would be good too. I fastened it with a rubber band instead of string, and that seemed to work fine. My recipe said to run the apples through with a needle to prevent them from bursting. I used a large corsage pin to do this, and put two holes through each one. Combine the sugar, vinegar and water, add the spice bag and boil for 5 minutes. Then you want to cook the apples in this hot mixture. They should be cooked only one layer at a time. You could ladle them in and out with a slotted spoon. I have a basket that fits in a gallon kettle, and I used that which made it easy to gently lift the apples in and out of the hot syrup. However, the directions I have only say to cook gently until the apples are almost tender. split crabappleI tried 5 minutes, and that was way too long. Almost all of the apples split, like the one you see here. I wasn't very happy, but decided that I cooked them too long. I reduced the cooking time to just under 2 minutes. Some of the apples still split. As it turned out the inner fruit took on the deep red color of the skins, so the splits didn't show very much, but if you were making these for gifts, you might want to sort the apples after cooking to choose ones that didn't split. As each batch of apples is cooked, remove it carefully from the syrup and put in a clean pan. When all the apples are cooked, pour the hot syrup over all the apples. Cover. Put them in the refrigerator for 12-18 hours.
whole crabapples in jars whole crabapples placed in jars (photo by jhy)
After the 12-18 hours, sterilize the jars and prepare the lids. Carefully fill the hot jars with apples. Be sure to leave head space (don't fill so full that apples protrude above the rim).
whole crabapples in jars with syrup syrup poured over whole crabapples (photo by jhy)
Remove the spice bag. Heat syrup to boiling and fill jars with the hot syrup, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Clean rims with damp paper towel. Add lids and rings. Process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath. See Basic Instructions for Hot Water Bath Canning
crabapple pickles pickled crabapples (photo by jhy) It had been a long time since I've had pickled crabapples, but I have to say that they are really yummy. I don't know how many I will use in a year, but I'm going to try to determine that and make some each year.


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