Can You Bake With Crab Apples?

woman holding crab apples
woman holding crab apples - Lovelypeace/Getty Images

When autumn rolls around, you may notice trees in your neighborhood showing off fruits of the season with clusters of colorful, miniature-sized apples. With this bounty in abundance, you might wonder if those small crab apples are fair game for culinary undertakings. Since biting into one raw can be a bitter experience, the bright hues of crab apples may attract you before their taste does. However, with a bit of prep work and recipe alterations, you can give new life to some of your favorite recipes using this unique ingredient.

Crab apples can offer both bright colors and zest to your go-to baked goods. Using them requires some adjustments, as you'll need to look for ways to offset the sour flavor these tiny fruits are known for. Poaching crab apples in sweet wine can help tone down the pucker factor, and compensating with mixtures of sweeteners and spices of your choosing can convert crab apples into truly delightful additions to jams, pies, tarts, and breads.

Read more: 13 Simple Tricks To Pick The Best Fresh Fruit Every Time

More Than What Meets The Eye

pie with crabapples
pie with crabapples - Irina Burakova/Shutterstock

To keep the pieces of fruit whole, consider poaching crab apples in sweet baths spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with sugar. Honey, agave, and molasses can also help steer these tiny orbs of fruit into a sweeter lane so you can use them in baking projects. Extracts can serve you well as you make muffins and pies with crab apples, and you can experiment with building depth of flavor in your treats. Vanilla and butterscotch extracts can be added to ice cream mixtures made with crab apples, or you can spice up the fruit with ginger and cardamom.

Pair bakes made with crab apples with sweeter finishes like caramel, chocolate sauce, and white chocolate chips to balance out contrasting flavors and create interesting dishes. If you find yourself with an excess of the fruit, consider making juice or syrup to have on hand to splash into a smooth old fashioned cocktail, or add as a flavor to snickerdoodle crumb muffins. Once you have found your way around using the sour treat, you may surprise yourself by looking for signs of crab apples ripening on trees next season.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.