Scandinavian Crab Apple

Scandinavian Crab Apple

Crab Apple trees grow in profusion all over Scandinavia. Learn more about Scandinavian crab apple.

Fruit growers cultivate them in orchards to facilitate pollination, as crab apple trees draw hordes of bees to their abundant blossom, and they are used for their extremely hardy root stock. Others plant them simply to enjoy their beautiful display of white, pink or cerise flowers in spring.

Scandinavian Crab Apple
Crab apples (malus sylvestris) are not widely used in the kitchen any more. Photo: Wikipedia

Crab apples (malus sylvestris) are not widely used in the kitchen any more, but the small, slightly bitter fruits make an exquisite jelly, which is much more flavorful than jelly from ordinary apples, and is often richly colored (depending on the color of the cultivar).

Related: Apples From Scandinavia

The procedure for making jelly is very much the same, whatever fruit you decide to make it from: you can use the same recipe for ordinary apples, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, medlars and quince. The most important factor is a high level of pectin.

Related: Apple Art in Southern Sweden

Scandinavian Crab Apple
the small, slightly bitter fruits make an exquisite jelly, which is much mor flavorful than jelly from ordinary apples. Photo: Pikist

Essentially a carbohydrate, pectin is transformed into sugar as the fruit ripens, which is why you must use unripe, tart fruit in order to make the jelly set. Most other fruit do not have enough pectin to make jelly unaided by commercial pectin. The latter is best avoided, as it suffocates the taste and often makes the jelly rubbery, instead of melting in your mouth.

Related: Everything Smells of Apples in Hardanger

Scandinavian Crab Apple
Crab apple jelly. Photo: Insanely good receipes.

Crab apple jelly
The jelly is slightly bitter, but tastes wonderful on buttered roast, a decoration for any dessert with apples, or served with venison and game.

2kg crab apples

Wash the crab apples (or other fruit) and remove any blemished ones. Place in a non-corrosive pan and barely cover with water. Bring to the boil and let the fruit bubble for around 20 minutes, or until it is soft, removing any scum from the top. Mash the fruit into a colander lined with a very clean cloth or muslin and place over a large bowl – the cloth must be big enough for you to tie a piece of string around it once it’s full of fruit, so you can suspend the whole thing for the juice to drip through. For the amounts given here, I suggest you hang the fruit from the tap and simply place the bowl in the sink. If you make a larger amount, you can tie the corners of the cloth to the legs of an upturned chair, with the seat resting on the table. Do not, under any circumstances, squeeze the bag, the juice must drip at its own speed. Leave overnight.

Once there is no more juice to come through, measure the contents of the bowl, then place in a large pan. Add 750g sugar per liter. At this point, you should also put a small stack of saucers or small plates into your fridge to cool

Boil the juice and sugar together vigorously, removing any scum. The setting point of the juice can be reached very fast, or take 20 minutes of boiling. Check by dripping a small teaspoon on to one of your cold saucers then replacing it in the fridge. Once it has cooled, run your finger through the jelly: if it runs, it’s not finished, if it wrinkles, it is. If your jelly has not set after 20 minutes of boiling, it probably never will – but you will have a lovely syrup for desserts and pancakes or for flavoring stews and marinades.

Pour the jelly into a sterilized jar and leave it to cool before putting the lids on. If you want to make sure that the jelly doesn’t grow moldy, add a little brandy or whisky to the jars beforehand and give them a shake (with the lid on, of course); remove, or drink the content before you add the jelly.

Scandinavian Crab Apple, written by Tor Kjolberg

Feature image (on top): Photo by Wiktionary


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