Crabapples are small, extremely tart fruits and are in the same genus as table apples. The fruits and their trees look remarkably like apples, which can often lead to an unfortunate confusion, as the taste of crabapples is rather distinctive and often unpleasant. The small fruits may be yellow to red when ripe, and often grow in dense clusters. The trees can live for decades and are remarkable frost tolerant, dropping their leaves in the fall to conserve energy throughout the winter.
Crabapples are intensely sour and tart, much like biting straight into a lemon. Because of the flavor, crabapples are sometimes added to other dishes as a supplement. For example, a few crabapples in a batch of cider can make the end flavor more interesting and complex. They are also pickled for use in chutneys and savory sauces. Also, crabapples contain pectin, which is excellent for helping clear arteries!
Crabapples are considered an “old fashioned” fruit, and you will be hard pressed to find them in stores. So, if you know someone with a crabapple tree in their back yard, take some off of their hands! There are delicious butters, sauces, and jellies to be made.