Crabapple Sauce

21 Sep

There’s a very large crabapple tree in my backyard that produces beautiful red apples in September.Usually, the apples fall to the ground creating a mess that attracts wasp, but this year I broke out the extension ladder and picked about 25 pounds of fruit. Almost getting stuck on my garage roof aside, picking my own tree and turning into preserves that I’ll use over the next several months has been very satisfying!

I use applesauce quite a bit for baking, so I thought “why not make crabapple sauce?” I couldn’t find any recipes specifically using crabapples so I experimented a little and created my own.

Crabapples are very high in pectin which resulted in using much more water than regular applesauce recipes call for. I also wanted to make unsweetened sauce, but after tasting my first batch, I decided it’s more palatable to add a sweetener.

By the third batch I had the technique down; it turned out so well, I’m tempted to risk getting stuck on the garage again to pick more apples and make more sauce. This will definitely be something I make in future preserving seasons.

Crabapple Sauce:

Crabapples – about 1 lb. per pint jar (450 g per 500 mL jar)
Water – enough to cover the crabapples
Sugar – depending on your taste, 1/8 cup to 1 cup per pint jar

Optional addition to each jar:
1 cinnamon stick or
1 whole star anise or
1/2 a vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped out and saved for something else

Prepare mason jars and have hot for packing sauce. Have sealable lids ready in hot water.

Rinse apples and trim off stems and bottom. No need to peel or core them.

Bring apples, water and sugar to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat, stirring periodically to avoid burning. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until apples start to become mushy. Mash with a potato masher until it reaches a fairly smooth consistency. You may pass the mixture through a food mill or pack it as is.

Pack in prepared jars (with additions you’d like to make) and process in a water bath as per the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Note: you can also package and freeze the sauce if you have the freezer space.

I’m thinking this sauce will be good for The Best Muffins, served with pork chops or turkey, or reduced and swirled into a cheesecake. There are many possibilities!


10 Responses to “Crabapple Sauce”

  1. Nest (@IHeartNest) September 21, 2011 at 4:40 PM #

    Love it, love it! Beautiful little gems!

    • jacinthe September 21, 2011 at 7:39 PM #

      Thanks! Have you done anything creative with crabapples?

  2. Stephanie September 26, 2011 at 4:03 PM #

    I have that same tree.. plus a huge haul from the farm so I might try this recipe out! I’ll definitely be juicing some of them for jelly and sorbet but I never thought of apple sauce out of them. Thanks for the recipe.

    • jacinthe September 26, 2011 at 10:20 PM #

      no worries! i thought about jelly but was daunted by the amount of work it might turn out to be. would love to see your process!

  3. Jen August 19, 2013 at 5:56 PM #

    I know this is a pretty old post, but there’s not a lot out there on crab apple sauce! I’m just wondering if the seeds posed any problems in taste (bitterness, etc.). I really don’t want to spend the time coring, but I am concerned that the flavour would be off.

    • jacinthe August 19, 2013 at 6:15 PM #

      Depending on the amount of sugar added, the sourness of the apples, and using the food mill, I didn’t find any problems with the seeds being cooked down. Let me know how it turns out for you 🙂

  4. Debbie Mulligan October 26, 2013 at 2:14 PM #

    I have a crabapple tree that produced a ton of apples. I made jelly from mine. My husband and I picked, cleaned, and put up 20 pts of jelly. My boss asked for cheesecake ideas I thought of crapapple and she made a reduction for basic cheesecake receipe and for top glaze. Very feastive looking for the holidays.

  5. Dana May 10, 2014 at 5:08 PM #

    I remember making crab applesauce as a girl with a friend. We used a food mill to smash the cooked apples because it separated the pulp from the cores and seeds. By back turning the mill you could loosen the spent cores and discard. The result was the smoothest apple sauce I have ever eaten and was a sweet tart flavor when sugar is added. I just found out my neighbor has a crab apple tree and I am over the moon excited about making some crab applesauce after 50 years. Everyone should try it if they have access to crab apples. Nummy!


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