Unusual & Old Fashioned Fruit Trees
The Crab Apple
Apple trees are normally thought of as ornamental trees only, but they
do produce a worthwhile crop of fruits, that although small and tart
compared to a normal apple, are very useful in the kitchen.
Once they have fully ripened Crab Apple jelly is easy to make because
the fruit is high in Pectin which is necessary to set jams and jellies.
Up until the Middle Ages Crab Apples were also used to make an early
type of vinegar that was used in pickling, before grapes were imported.
ways to cook with Crab Apples involved spiking them with a knife and
heating them in a pan with spiced vinegar and sugar. Then the apples
were stored in jars, with some of the solution, until wanted and served
up with game and red meats. Although tart, the addition of one or two
chopped Crab apples to ordinary fruit pies and flans will add a little
more bite to the preparation.
are many varieties of Crab Apples sold in Garden Centres for both their
blossom and colourful Autumn fruits that can be red or yellow. Other
gardeners grow them because they are an excellent pollinator for most
other desert and cooking apple trees due in part to their long flowering
period. In gardens where they are planted, insects, particularly bees,
are drawn to their blossom in the Spring in huge numbers, so the trees
also improve general pollination of flowers in the garden.
with many fruit trees they can be found in small column varieties that
can be grown in pots on patios, and others up to full size 20 or 30 foot
trees. They are easy to grow and will fruit well with little attention
as long as they have moisture in the ground when the fruit is
as Crab Apples are properly called, can be found on sale at any Garden
Centre with other fruit trees. Varieties include the yellow fruiting
Golden Hornet and red species Robusta. Most Crabs have white blossom,
but there are some, such as the Cashmere Crab, that have pink blossom
and red leaves for added colour.