Blanco Crabapple ( pyrus ioensis, prairie crabapple) is truly a Texas fruit so jelly made from it is a Texas Jelly since it grows wild only on limestone slopes and creeks in the Edwards Plateau in central Texas. It has been grown in nurseries in Texas so it can be found out of its range being enjoyed for its white/pink flowers.The tree can be up to 30 feet tall. It often suckers so it can form a thicket.
Last year I gathered some of the crabapples but did not care for the bitter aftertaste of the juice so I did not make the jelly. This year I was offered some of the fruit so I decided to try again. Usually when I gather fruit I am out along a railroad track, country road, or in an abandoned lot. But this time I had been invited by a reader, Denise, to get the fruit from her tree in her front yard. It never ceases to amaze me how kind people can be to a perfect stranger. What a pleasant experience for picking fruit. The other Blanco Crabapple trees I have seen had smaller fruit possibly because they were not getting watered regularly as this one. This tree produced more than a bushel basket of fruit and there still was fruit on the tree. The fruit were small green apples with some having a reddish blush. The fruit has a tart and bitter taste.
Upon getting the fruit home I racked my brain trying to decide how I would eliminate or lessen the bitter taste this year. I had read that if you pour hot boiling water over the fruit it would remove the bitter taste. I tried that but saw no great improvement. I peeled the fruit and it seemed as if it was not as bitter tasting. So I decided to boil the fruit to help in peeling the fruit. The fruit turned an olive green color. It peeled slightly better but the crabapples are pretty small so it took quite awhile. I peeled 4 cups of fruit and decided to try making juice out of what I had peeled. I added water, mashed the fruit, and cooked it until itwere soft. I ran the pulp through a sieve to recover the liquid. I tasted the juice. It sure was still bitter tasting even after removing the skins. I then added more water and the rest of the non-peeled fruit. Again I mashed the fruit and removed the liquid with the help of my sieve. I decided to go ahead and add the sugar. I got the liquid to a full rolling boil and then added the sugar. I decided to add two tablespoons of lemon juice to see if it would reduce the bitter taste. After it came to a full rolling boil I added the no sugar needed pectin. I let it cool and then poured it into freezer containers. I tasted the final product. As one first tasted it there was no bitter taste just a pleasant apple flavor. Then upon swallowing I could taste a hint of that bitterness. I had my neighbor try it and he liked it so I decided it was a success. I too liked it even with that slightly bitter after-taste. And it looks very pretty and unlike any of the other jellies I have made. Thank you Denise.
Blanco Crabapple Jelly Recipe
12 cups of ripe crabapples
4 cups of sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 pkg no sugar needed pectin