Crabapple

Other names: Crab Apple, Wild Apple, Crabs

Availability: August through April.

Source: United States.

Handling Tips: 32° F.

General Information: This small, tart apple is used in making tarts, jellies and garnish. Some may be too tart to enjoy fresh, but some are a refreshing and enjoyable combination of sweet and sour. Crabapple fruit are mostly red, but some cultivars, such as the 'Golden Hornet', are yellow. If crabapples are stewed and the pulp is carefully strained and mixed with an equal volume of sugar then boiled, their juice can be made into a delicious ruby-colored crabapple jelly. A small percentage of crab apples in cider makes a more interesting flavor.

Some crab apples are used as rootstocks for domestic apples to add beneficial characteristics. For example, Siberian crab rootstock is often used to give additional cold hardiness to the combined plant for orchards in cold northern areas.

They are also used as pollenizers in apple orchards. Varieties of crab apple are selected to bloom contemporaneously with the apple variety in an orchard planting, and the crabs are planted every sixth or seventh tree, or limbs of crab are grafted onto some of the apple trees. In emergencies a bucket or drum bouquet of crab apple flowering branches are placed near the beehives as orchard pollenizers.

CULTIVARS

Over 800 cultivars are known, with more being developed each year. The following list represents some that are disease-resistant to varying degrees:

?Adams? - This tree grows 20 to 25 feet. The annual buds are red, the flowers are dull pink and the small fruit is red. It is resistant to scab, rust and powdery mildew.
?Autumn Glory? - This tree grows in an upright form to 12 feet. The red buds open to white flowers, and the small fruit is bright orange-red. It is resistant to fire blight, powdery mildew, rust and scab.
"Adirondack" - This tree grows 16 feet tall and 12 feet wide. The annual red buds open to white flowers, and the small fruits are orange-red. It is resistant to scab, rust and powdery mildew.
"Centurion" - This tree grows 25 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide. The red buds open to rose-red flowers, and the fruit is small and glossy cherry-red. It is resistant to scab, rust and powdery mildew.
"Callaway" - This is one of the favorite white-flowered crabapples for gardens in South Carolina. The pink bud becomes a white flower, and the large (1" inch) fruit is red. It grows 15 to 25 feet tall. Reports of disease resistance are varied.
"Indian Magic" - This tree grows 15 to 20 feet tall and wide. The red buds open dark pink, and the small fruit is red, changing to orange. It is resistant to scab, rust and powdery mildew.
"Indian Summer" - This tree grows 18 to 20 feet tall. It has rose-red flowers, and the small fruit is bright red. It is resistant to fire blight.
"Mary Potter" - This small tree grows 10 to 15 feet tall and 15 to 20 feet wide. The biennial dark pink bud opens to a white flower, and the small fruit is red. It is resistant to scab, rust and powdery mildew.
"Molten Lava" - This tree has a weeping form and grows about 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide. The annual deep red buds open to white flowers, and the small fruit is red-orange. It is resistant to fire blight, powdery mildew, rust and scab.
"Prairifire" - This tree grows 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The red buds open to dark pinkish-red blooms, and the small fruit is red-purple. It is resistant to fire blight.
"Professor Sprenger" - This tree grows 26 feet tall and 20 feet wide. The pink buds open to white flowers, and the small fruit is orange-red. It is resistant to powdery mildew, rust and scab.
"Red Baron" - This tree grows about 20 feet tall and 12 feet wide. The deep red buds open to pink flowers, and the small fruit is dark red. It is resistant to scab, rust and powdery mildew.
"Tina" - This is a low-spreading dwarf selection that grows 6 to 8 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. The pink buds open to white flowers, and the small fruit is red. It is resistant to fire blight, powdery mildew, rust and scab.

Recipes: 1

Crabapple Jelly