We are blessed to have three large, heritage crab apple trees in our yard along our driveway. September days are filled with crab apple munching and me feeling inspired to gratefully create recipes in my kitchen.  These are my top 3 ways to use crab apples.  I love hearing other ideas so feel free to share with me your favourite ways too!

1. Apple Crisp

This easy classic dessert is our family's favourite fall dessert, complete with ice cream, or just pouring cream overtop. I do also make homemade apple pie but there's something about the crisp that hits the spot.  We had the big debate on social media if you should peel or not peel the crab apples- it tastes better peeled but our crab apples are so small, it is tedious!  So I did one crisp peeled and one crisp unpeeled. Balance!

I don't follow a recipe for making apple crisp but this is a rough idea:

4 cups sliced apples

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup butter

1 cup sugar (or more depending on the tartness of your apples)

Topping: 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 rolled oats, 1 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter

Bake for 40 min at 350F or until apples are tender


2. Apple Sauce

This is the most obvious option of what to make with your crab apples.  Easy to wash, chop and throw into a pot together to boil down with water.  Then once tender, blend together.  My kids will eat the apple sauce like that- usually sweetened a bit with sugar or honey and touch of cinnamon.  You can also use the apple sauce in muffins, cake, or to dehydrate into fruit leather!  But you can guess I also like to use the apple sauce in SOAP!  This year I used our crab apple sauce in our Prairie Harvest soap batch.  Paired with cinnamon, nutmeg, orange and black pepper- this is an autumn classic!

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has become a common household staple, but did you know you could make it yourself?  You are fermenting the apple pieces with sugar to create the vinegar.  I do have an easy jar for fermenting with an airlock on top but you can look into different ways to ferment.  I used roughly 6 cups of chopped crab apples, 3 tbsp of cane sugar dissolved in 3 cups of filtered water.  I also added 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar with the mother culture to help speed along the process.  It’ll store it in a dark place for 3 weeks, then strain the apples and keep the liquid in a dark place for another month before transferring to a jug with lid to store.  Our favourite way to use apple cider vinegar?  In a dilution with water to use as a hair rinse!  Read our blog about that here.

Some other ways I have used crab apples are to steam juice and make jelly with.  This year I also plan to try making apple butter for the first time.  What are your favourite ways to use crab apples?