Crab apples are extremely tart and slightly bitter.
These are mostly utilized in juicing since they are not edible as a fruit. However, crab apple cider is very versatile and can be used for sauces and glazes for sweet and savory dishes.
Ingredients (yields one 15-ounce jar)
17 ounces crab apples
14 ounces water
1 teaspoon whole cloves
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cinnamon stick
8 ounces dark brown sugar
Halve the crab apples and place them in a saucepan with water, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to keep a steady simmer for 45 minutes or until mixture can be beaten into a thick pulp. Stir occasionally.
Put the pulp through a vegetable mill or fine sieve and measure the final weight of the resulting apple purée. Return it to the cleaned pan and stir in 8 ounces of dark brown sugar for every 1 pound of apple purée.
Set the pan on a low heat and stir to allow the sugar to dissolve. Bring to a boil and keep boiling, stirring frequently, until the butter is very thick. If you draw a spoon through the mixture it should leave a path behind it. This can take up to an hour.
Transfer the butter to a warmed and sterilized preserving jar and tighten the lid immediately. The butter will be ready to use as soon as it’s cool and can be stored for up to a year. Since the recipe includes high-acid fruits, there isn’t a need for hot water bathing or any further preservation.