Can You Eat Crab Apples?

Crab apples are the ancestor to the large variety of apples we know and love to eat. They look very different from the apples you might be used to. Crab apples are much smaller and look almost more like red and pink radishes than they do apples.

If you are lucky enough to have a crab apple tree in your garden or can forage them easily and legally then you might be wondering, can you eat crab apples? If you can what on earth do they taste like and what can you do with them!

The Quick Answer

Can You Eat Crab Apples?

You can eat crab apples although due to their sour taste you may not want to eat them raw. They are delicious made into drinks and jams and if you can find them are a delicious addition to your meals.

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What Do Crab Apples Taste Like?

Crab apples are not completely dissimilar to that apple taste you might be used to but they are also different. They are much more intense and a lot sharper in their flavour. The flavour is similar to a cooking apple but far more intense.

For this reason, it is more common to make crab apples into jams, jellies and liqueurs and you would be unlikely to want to eat them raw.

How to Eat Crab Apples

Whilst you can eat crab apples raw you are more likely to want to cook them up to make them easier to eat. Take a look at these ideas.

Make Crab Apple Jam, Jelly or Chutney

Instead of your usual fruit try using crab apples instead. This doesn’t create a sweet jam for your toast but it does have a lovely sharp flavour that complements meat perfectly.

To make this harvest your crab apples and add them to a large saucepan. Cover with water and simmer until they have turned mushy. Pour into a jelly bag and strain them before pupping them back into a pan to heat slowly with sugar and any other ingredients you might like. To add a little heat to your savoury jelly try adding some chilli.

Crab Apple Liqueur or Wine

For a liqueur or wine with a little kick make yourself some homemade crab apple liqueur. Use your usual alcohol brewing or infusion method and instead of your usual fruit add crab apples instead. You will end up with a drink that is sharp in flavour but delicious for an after-dinner drink.

If you’re looking for a delicious crab apple liqueur recipe then give this one a go.

Benefits of Eating Crab Apples

Crab apples are a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals in the same way that apples are. They are a great source of vitamin C, are high in fibre and crab apples also contain polyphenols which are antioxidants and they also contain pectin which can help you maintain a healthy gut.

In addition to health benefits, one of the main benefits of crab apples is their interesting flavour! Crab apple jelly is the perfect addition as a sauce to meat dishes and can add interest to your usual Sunday roast dinner.

What Countries Eat Crab Apples?

Crab apples are native to the United Kingdom and can also be found in much of Europe so it is unsurprising that crab apple jelly is considered a very British recipe. This is a traditional recipe to be proud of and crab apples are a foragers favourite throughout the British countryside.

Should You Eat Crab Apples?

If you can source your crab apples ethically and legally then yes you absolutely should eat them. You do need to be careful of where you source these fruits from. You can’t take them from private property and should always forage in an ethical way whenever you go hunting for food in the wild.

You should also be wary of eating crab apples in highly polluted areas or in areas where there is a high use of chemicals as this can affect the fruit themselves.

Other Questions about Eating Crab Apples

Below are some other questions people often ask when it comes to eating crab apples. If you do find yourself with further questions, however, then please do ask in the comments area at the bottom of this page:

Do Squirrels Eat Them?

Squirrels are not particularly fussy and will often be found eating anything from fruits, seeds and nuts. But do they eat crab apples? Squirrels do eat crab apples. If you’ve got a crab apple tree in your garden and are not sure what’s eat all the fruit then there is a chance it is a squirrel.

Are Crab Apples Poisonous?

Well… You can make jam, chutney, jelly and wine from crab apples so you can probably answer this question yourself: No, they are no poisonous.