Crab apples are just so darn cute aren’t they? So red. So tiny. So crabby. All bunched up on the tree together like a group of girls headed to the restroom. You know its true.
We have a number of crab apple trees around our apartment complex and my husband has been saying for weeks now, “we should do something with those crab apples.” I liked the idea. I really did. But to be honest I was thinking, “Ok. If you want to stand out in the hot sun while wrangling 2 kids, pick a bushel of teeny tiny tart apples, peel and core them, and then make something edible out of them – be my guest. I have other things to do.”
That’s where my mother in law comes in. She is visiting from Australia and, let me tell you, this lady knows how to ‘git ‘er done’! She takes ideas and makes them reality. Well, Mark knows this and he must have mentioned his crab apple idea to her as soon as her plane landed because guess what we were doing the day after she arrived? Yep, picking tart and tiny apples out in the hot sun while wrangling 2 young children. Operation crab apple jam was underway. It turned out to be a lot of fun actually and the girls had a blast.
The truth is that it wasnt that hard! In fact, it was so easy I might just do it again!! Tomorrow even!
So, here is where I explain the process to you and you have the option whether to go out and do it yourself, or just enjoy the story. Pictures make it even better!
- We picked the reddest, ripest apples we could find and put them into bags
- We brought our loot inside and threw the load of tiny apples in the sink to rinse them
- We cut out all the bad spots and the stems, and sliced them in half. (No peeling needed! Yay!)
- We threw them all into a big pot and set it to boil for a few hours. Maybe 3?
- Once the apples were soft and mushy, we strained out the juice and set it aside.
- Then we pushed all the pulp through a colander so we could get some of the apple goodness without any seeds or skin. You dont have to do this part, but I like some fiber in my jam.
- We then added 1 cup of sugar for every cup of juice/pulp. Our first batch ended up being about 11 cups of each. Oh and I added about a tablespoon of cinnamon too, because, apple cinnamon jam? I mean, hello!
- We then boiled the apple/sugar mixture on the stove (stirring until the sugar melted and every 30 minutes to make sure it wasnt burning etc) until “setting point”. This is when you drop a spoon of the apple mixture into an ice cold glass of water and it instantly becomes a gel.
- Once it was at setting point we poured it into our prepped jars. Basically we cleaned jars with boiling water and then poured the jam into them. Really tough stuff, huh?
- Then we left it to set.
A couple hours later I pulled out a loaf of fresh bread and we slathered that goodness on top.
It is amazing. We have about 10 jars of jam and the only expense was the sweat from our brows and the sugar we used. It is chock full of vitamin C, tastes amazing, and its great for gifts too. That is, if I want to part with any of it.
So, take it from me. Its worth the effort and is actually a lot of fun. Maybe you wont need your mother in law to get your rear in gear- thats what this post is for.