Crab Apple Jam – A Forager’s Treat!

Ever wondered how you can use crab apples to make crab apple jam? Crap apples are a common sight in woodland, country lanes and hedgerows, and it is an under-utilised natural resource. While the sour flavour of raw crab apples is not to everyone’s liking, when cooked with other foods or sweetened in jams and relishes, the humble crab apple comes into its own.

Crab apple jam is delicious, and can be eaten with sweet and savoury foods, such as cheeses and meats. Learn how to forage for crab apples, what they look like and when they are available, on our foraging pages.

Are Crab Apples Good for Making Jam?

Crab apple

Crab apples are brilliant for jam making as they contain lots of natural pectin (stuff that makes jam thick and sets well) so you don’t even need to buy jam sugar, normal granulated sugar will be fine. It is both tart and sweet at the same time – a true taste sensation!

If you want to add another fruit, such as blackberry, elderberry, raspberry and more, just add it to the mix. The pectin in the apple will be more than enough for it to set.

The following recipe should give you approximately one large jar of jam. It’s easy to scale up the recipe if you have more apples or want to add another fruit.

Crab Apple Jam recipe

1kg crab apple
approx 400g granulated sugar
1 muslin cloth


Wash and roughly chop the crab apples, removing the stalks. Leave the cores in as it all adds to the pectin levels which help the jam set. Put into a heavy bottomed pan and add water so it comes up to about halfway of the amount of fruit.

Bring to the boil and simmer. Squash and stir the fruit occasionally until you have a lovely apple pulp.

While your apple is ‘pulping’, it’s a good time to sterilise your jam jars. An easy way to do this is to boil the kettle and fill up your glass jar with boiling water to sterilise. Take care as glass may shatter at high temperatures.

A good way to deal with this is to put a metal spoon into the jar as you pour the water to help disperse the heat. Place the jars of a baking tray and dry them off in a hot oven for 20 minutes, then keep them warm until ready for use.

When your apple is ready, get a large bowl and lay a sieve over the top. Place muslin cloth inside sieve and scoop in some of the apple mixture.

If you like a clear jam, allow the liquid to drip through the cloth. If you are impatient and don’t mind a cloudy jam, squeeze the pulp to extract as much juice as possible and repeat with the rest of the apple pulp. Measure out how much juice you have.

Because crab apples have a tart flavour, you will need around 400g of sugar for every half litre of juice. Add juice and sugar to a clean pan and slowly bring to the boil, allowing sugar to dissolve. Then rapidly boil for about ten minutes, scooping off any scum that comes to the surface. Simply pour into your warmed jars, seal with waxed paper and lid.

Crab apple jam

Crab apple jam is best left for a few weeks to mature before eating. When properly stored, this jam can keep unopened for up to a year. Enjoy!

Do you make crab apple jam? What else do you make with crab apples? Please share your recipes with us! You might also like this chutney recipe!

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