Crab apples, also known as wild apples which are small and glossy fruits that belong to the rose plant family. Native to the temperate regions of North America, Asia, and Europe, they are primarily cultivated in South India, Madras, and Sri Lanka. The fruits are characterized by their rough and plushy skin and white pulp. Crab apples are sought after table fruits, due to their slightly tarty and tasty flavor.
Benefits of crab apples
- Crab apples are used as a remedy for various digestive disorders. Ripe crab apples are found to contain powerful digestive agents that facilitate digestion, while eating unripe fruits without the seeds can alleviate diarrhea and piles. Giving 30 to 60 grams of ripe crab apple pulp may also help to treat stomach issues in children.
- Likewise, the tree’s wood crust can be ground into powder and consumed either directly or added to hot water, to address excessive bile production. A special paste is made from crab apples and some choice ingredients — such as dried ginger, salt, honey, and black pepper — is found to alleviate hiccups, gum diseases, and throat diseases as well.
- In addition, the plant is shown to reduce the risk of uterine cancer and address infertility issues stemming from progesterone deficiency. Mixing ground wood crust with pure Ghee of cow and a tablespoon of honey is found to stave off complications after child-birth. The leaves of the crab apple tree can also be dried and ground into powder to be taken by people, who suffer from infertility issues. According to the Hub pages website, consuming powdered leaves with an equal amount of sugar is touted to address premature ejaculation in men.
- The high vitamin A content in crab apples is known to keep prostate cancer at bay, an article on the Healthy and Natural Life website says. Likewise, the plant’s ample vitamin A supply is beneficial in maintaining eye health and preventing premature aging.
- Crab apples are shown to fortify the immune system too. The fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C that effectively staves off infections such as flu, fever, colds and other medical conditions. The fruits are also found to keep cardiovascular diseases at bay.
- Moreover, crab apples are notably rich in iron that helps to boost pregnancy health in women as well as endurance among athletes. The fruit contains abundant levels of vitamin D and calcium that strengthen the bones and reduce the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
- Crab apples, whether eaten ripe or unripe, aid in digestion and alleviate related conditions. Likewise, the plant is found to strengthen the body’s overall immunity and bolster bone strength and integrity. The medicinal plant is also essential in maintaining eye and heart health. Crab apples support both male and female reproductive health as well.
Adding crab apples to your diet
Crabapples can be eaten as a common table fruit and may be used in preparing juices, jellies, pickles, butter and sauce.
Side effects and word of caution
- Avoid eating the seeds to prevent cyanide poisoning.
- The sourness of some crabapples may lead to bit of sour stomach after eating.
Recipe for Homemade Crabapple Jelly
Apples picked off a tree, or bought at the market
Cinnamon sticks (optional)
Wash, stem and coarsely chop or just quarter the apples and put them in a large pot. (Don’t bother to peel or core them.)
Add enough water to just cover them and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the apples are very soft. Mash the whole lot with a big spoon or potato masher and cook for another few minutes.
Spoon the mixture into a colander lined with cheesecloth set over a large bowl or pot and let the juice drain out, stirring the pulp to extract as much juice as possible.
Measure the resulting juice into a pot (this is easy if you drain it into a pot with measurements marked on the side) and add ¾ cup sugar for every cup of juice.
Bring to a boil over high heat and boil rapidly, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 210°F on a candy thermometer or until a small amount placed on a cold plate and put into the freezer turns to gel. This should take about 20 minutes.
While it’s still hot, pour the jelly into hot jars, adding a cinnamon stick to each jar. Iif you like, skim off any foam that rises to the top with a spoon and seal. Set aside to cool.
Process in a hot water bath or store in the fridge.
Recipe for Apple Cinnamon Bread Pudding
½ baguette or loaf of good-quality crusty bread, or an assortment of bread ends (raisin bread works well here)
4 large eggs
½ cup pure maple syrup or honey
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 cups Half & Half
1 tsp. vanilla
A shake of cinnamon
2 Tbsp. butter
10-15 crabapples, sliced or quartered
2 Tbsp. sugar
Cut or tear the bread into one-inch chunks into a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, brown sugar, cream and vanilla. Pour over the bread and let sit for an hour or overnight, stirring or turning the mixture once in a while. All the liquid should be well absorbed, but the bread shouldn’t turn to mush.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Pour the bread mixture into a buttered baking dish. In a small skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat and cook the crabapples for a few minutes, until they start to soften. Sprinkle with sugar and cook, until they start turning golden. Stir the apples into the bread mixture or sprinkle over top.
Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until puffed and golden. Serve warm, with whipped cream if you like.
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