I came home last Friday to a package on my doorstep from my sister-in-law, Michelle who lives on Orcas Island. I’ve heard of bloggers receiving all sorts of products from companies wanting to be reviewed. Since I’m attempting to be somewhat anti-consumerism, I haven’t exactly been inundated with requests to review products but receiving a box of crabapples, now this was right up my alley.
We have two beautiful crabapple trees in our yard, both incredibly fragrant in the spring and loaded with fruit in the summer but I haven’t gotten around to using them. Michelle’s crabapples, variety Dolgo, are smaller, tastier and looked like they would be perfect for pickling. It’s been a while since I did much pickling other than making Sally’s dill pickles, which by the way, are well worth the effort. I have a small canning pot, the kind with a rack that holds the jars, not essential, but makes the whole thing much easier. I went to the basement and dug out my old well-used copy of Putting Food By and got to work.
I figured I’d make 4 pints and although the regular mouth jars would work, I used wide mouth instead. First sterilize your jars and lids. Submerge your jars in the canning pot filling each jar with water and covering the tops. Boil covered for 20 minutes. I find it easier to do the lids in a separate smaller pan.
Tie the spices — 2t whole cloves, 2t allspice and 2 sticks of cinnamon — in a square of cheesecloth. Make a syrup in a saucepan using 2 cups sugar, 2 cups apple cider vinegar and 1 cup water. Drop the spice bag in and bring to a boil for 3 minutes.
Cut the blossom end off the apples. Now prick each apple with a needle twice to keep the skins from popping open when they are cooked. I mistakingly thought I could skip this step because after all, I had cut the bottoms off. Not true, every one of the skins broke. So, if you want yours to look perfect, repeat after me, “slow food, slow food” and start pricking.
Lift the jars out of the hot water ( this is when the rack comes in handy). Empty each jar, pack with crabapples and throw in a couple more cloves, if you want. Cover with hot syrup leaving 1/2 inch of headroom at the top. Adjust the lids. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
I plan to save (most of ) these for Thanksgiving but in the meantime, they certainly look pretty and I have to confess, they taste great too.