Poor old crab apples. Autumn’s ugly sisters in need of just a little love and care to become all meltingly sweet and spicy and delicious.
These days crab apples are too often left to rot on the ground and all-too-seldom brought into the kitchen. But t’wasn’t ever thus. Crab apples used to prized for their tart flavour and acidity which is no good at all for eating the apples raw but can be put to great use as an ingredient.
They’re even better than eating apples for this ‘butter’. Which is really a sweetened, spiced, thick apple spread that’s very lovely on toast, crumpets, fruit buns or as a stand-by sauce for roast pork.
Crab Apple Butter
1kg crab apples
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
caster sugar – see below
1. Wash the apples and cut away any bad bits – but do not peel them. Quarter the apples. Cut away the core if it looks a bit funny, otherwise they’re fine to leave in.
2. Cover the apples in a pan with the cider and water. Cook until soft and then puree either by pressing through a sieve or liquidising.
3. Now weigh the mashed apple. You need 300g of caster sugar for each 400g of apple. Return the apple to the pan with the sugar and spices and heat until the sugar has dissolved. Carry on simmering it without the lid on for about an hour until you achieve something which will spread without running all over the place.
4. Spoon into sterilised jars and seal.
I highly recommend spreading this thickly on hot toast and topping it off with a rasher of bacon for an autumn snack.