I've wanted a Crabapple for a long, long time.
So it was with almost hysterical excitement, that, whilst hubs was watching the kids on the bouncy castle at Swanes, I sneaked a Crabapple tree in our trolley.
Well. It's early days.
Crabapples are mostly known for their stunning blossom (no really, they are), and are great pollinators for apple trees (and let's face it, mine need all the help they can get).
But, I'm not so fussed about pretty blossom, so I've got a cultivar that is more about the fruit than the flowers.
The fruit on its own is nothing to write home about. Sour and chalky describe it well. But combine it with some sugar and water and it makes the most wonderful clear golden jelly.
Here is the recipe I use to make crabapple jelly. Its from the Complete Book of Preserving By Marye Cameron-Smith - which was first pubbed in 1976 (when I was 4). I remember my English Grandmother using this book, and the copy I have is my mother's copy photocopied in its entirety.
1 - 1.5l cold water
rind of 2 lemons
Wash apples and cut out any bad portions. Quarter the apples and place them, complete with peel and core, in a large saucepan.
Pour enough cold water in to cover them and add lemon rind.
Place pan over high heat and bring to boil.
Lower heat and simmer for an hour until apples are mushy.
Pour apples and liquid into jelly bag, and leave juice to drain into a bowl overnight.
Measure juice - add 450g of sugar for every 600ml juice.
Place pan over low heat and stir to dissolve sugar.
Increase heat to high and bring to boil.
Boil until setting point is reached, 105 degrees celsius.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Pour into hot, dry jam jars.
Whether or not I'll be making crabapple jelly from my crabapple remains to be seen. As ever, it's the 'chilling hours' that the trees get in winter that are a problem around here. I think it should be okay. The All-In-One Almond I've been worrying about did go dormant (just) and is now blossoming - BUT we've also had the coldest winter in 12 years here. So, it could just be a fluke.