A few hundred metres away grows another crab apple tree producing smaller, pretty, pinkish-red fruits with less acidity and more flavour. I’ve christened her Rosy Pucker and she lights up a sloe gin cocktail or fruit jelly.
Season: Flowers May – June, Fruits August – November.
Fallen crab apples keep well on the ground and can often be harvested in good numbers throughout the winter
Identification: Small tree or shrub with twisted, occasionally thorny branches, oval/pointed tooth-edged leaves, and clusters of white/pink flowers. Apples 2-4cm diameter, yellow-green, often flushed red. Parks, gardens and urban settings, ornamental varieties are quite common. These tend to bear smaller, more brightly coloured fruit in hues of orange, pink, red and green.Don’t be put off by blemishes – every good crab apple has at least one!
Edible Parts: Flowers, buds, fruits
Distribution: Common throughout Europe and N America
Habitat: Well established woods and hedgerows
Drinks Uses: A great fruity acidifier (mallic acid). Juiced to make verjus. Mixed with juiced sorrel, crab apple verjus makes a temperate lime juice substitute. Use anywhere that calls for acidity/sourness
Tasting Notes: Strongly acidic, apply. Acidity levels, flavour and colour can vary from tree to tree. Get to know your local crab apple trees.