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A crabapple tree in the yard of my childhood home provided shade in the summer, beautiful blossoms in the spring, and served as my “monkey bars” nearly year round (with the exception of winter – after all, my hometown has actually been declared the “snowiest city in the world” with an average of 115.6 inches of frozen flakes per year).
But never once did I think of eating that tree’s fruit. Probably because I can’t recall being introduced to crabapples in any food. I never saw crabapple pie, caramel covered crabapples, crabapple juice, or crabapple sauce. So, imagine my surprise when I found crabapples for sale by the pound in a local grocery store during my “homeland” trip. I was so surprised, I whipped out my digital camera a snapped this photo (which prompted some strange looks from my fellow shoppers but hey, I don’t live there anymore!).
The sign says, “Great for fall decorating and use in recipes – tart flavor.” So, always in search of a food adventure (especially one involving produce) I went fishing for recipes (I just couldn’t stomach eating them raw). I found many, including spiced crabapples, crabapple kugel, crabapple jelly, juice and cider, pickled crabapples, crabapple pie and even crabapple schnapps – hmm, not to shabby.
Next on my agenda was digging up any potential research on the health benefits of crabapples. The results were pretty scant, but I quickly came across an impressive recent study linking compounds in crabapples to anti-inflammation (which leads me to think more research is on the horizon). Who knows, maybe crabapples will become the next pomegranate juice (more on this in a future post)! Until then, I think I’ll stick to crabapple’s better known cousins like McIntosh, Red and Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith.