I took my first foray into making food out of something that grew in my yard last week! We have a lovely crabapple tree that grows in our front yard. In the spring it has these gorgeous white blossoms, and amazing bright red fruit by the fall. This year was an especially rainy spring and early summer in Indiana and our tree produced in abundance!
I had thought that crabapples were poisonous. I'm not sure where I picked that up, but it was wrong... they're just really tart, so most people don't eat them. Plus, many - like the ones on my tree - are tiny. I originally considered it too much work to do anything with them. However, after pruning the tree and seeing all that beautiful fruit falling on the ground, I decided I just had to do something. So I stripped all the fruit from the pruned branches and washed them up. From just a few small branches I got enough good fruit to fill up a large mixing bowl.
After de-stemming the fruit, I used this recipe (scaled down to fit my harvest size) to make some delicious crabapple butter. First you boil the crabapples in a small amount of water. Then you press the soft fruit through a mesh strainer to remove the seeds.
Next you add your spices and sweetner and heat it slowly to make it thicker. The finished product is this gorgeous bright red "butter". It was a little tart to my tastes, so I added some extra sugar, but overall it was a great recipe! It was time-intensive, but I kinda felt like a pioneer woman - reaping the fruit of the land :) Everyone in my family enjoyed it except my son. But he's kinda picky. We ate it on warm buttered toast with our dinner. A nice little side dish.
I froze the extras in small 1/2 cup servings so that we can thaw out a little at a time and it won't go bad while we're trying to use it up. Its got a very intense flavor, so its not something I'd use in large quantities. Overall, it was a fun week-day experiment. This recipe could easily be altered to give you crabapple sauce instead of butter. I think you'd just add some more water (and maybe more sugar)to get it to be applesauce consistency.