Recipe: Wild Crabapple Paste
Crabapple paste reminds me of quince paste or membrillo. Sweet and tart at the same time, this tasty morsel pairs as well with goat cheese at dinnertime as it does with a cup of green tea in the afternoon. Best of all, crabapples are usually free because nobody wants (to deal with) them. Cherry-size, too sour to eat raw, In fact, I’d never touched crabapples before this recipe but I was in full foraging mode a few weeks ago and spotted a bush heavy with fruit on my way to the swimming pool. In a steady cold drizzle, I filled a bag, brought the fruit home and got to work in the kitchen. The next day I offered some to my family and they served it with cheese. What a delight it was!
What You Need
- 700 grams/about 4 cups crabapples
- 700 grams/3 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- Enough water to cover the crabapples in the pan
How You do It
- Wash crabapples and remove stems, leaves, insects
- Quarter them with a sharp knife. This was by far the most-consuming step in the process and I got a blister on my finger from slicing all the tiny fruit.
- Place them in a stainless steel pan and cover with water until it’s an inch over the fruit.
- Bring to a boil and cook uncovered until they are soft, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Strain the liquid through a sieve and save it to make crabapple jelly.
- Pass the crabapple fruit through a food mill to get the pulp without the seeds and skins.
- Return the pulp to the rinsed pan with the sugar (if you have a scale you should measure the same weight of fruit pulp and sugar) and cook over low heat, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon.
- As the mixture thickens, it will spit hot pulp so I cover the pan partially with a lid and stir every five minutes. Prevents my hand from getting burned.
- The paste is ready when the mixture is so thick that a wooden spoon leaves a dry trail at the bottom of the pan.
- Turn off the heat and pour onto a greased baking sheet.
- Store covered in a cool place until dry.
- Dice in big cubes and coat in granulated sugar if you plan to eat as sweet treat. If you plan to eat with savory food, keep it simple. No sugar.
- The paste keeps for months in a cool air-tight container.