Blanco Crabapple Jelly

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


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7 Responses to Blanco Crabapple Jelly

  1. my girlfriend is wanting to make this as she has a crabapple tree. thanks so much for the recipe!

  2. We have a 20 year old crabapple tree in our yard. Our crabapples turn red when ripe and have a sour taste that we really enjoy. Last year we had a lot of rain in the spring and the tree was loaded with large fruits, some as big as quarters. We shook them from the tree and used them to make jelly, applesauce, and apple crisp. We froze the applesauce and the quartered apples to make crisp. Delicious!

    • Country by Design-
      We were recently in Utah and saw lots of red crabapples. I looked at your pictures of your crabapple jelly. I loved the color of the jelly. Fantastic. I have not been able to find any red crabapples here in Texas yet. But I remain hopeful. :)

  3. Brian Burrer says:

    Blanco crabapple jelly is a favorite of my family but we rarely can obtain fruit. I have several BCs planted in my yard but they are still small. Thanks for posting this.

    • Welcome to my site Brian. I am glad you found the recipe useful. You are right that it is uncommon to find Blanco crabapple trees. I was luck to find the trees to use for my recipes.

  4. Miles Hoock says:

    Just wanted to share some info. Apples, crabapples, hawthorns all have their own pectin, you do NOT need to add any pectin or no-sugar pectins to your jellies. You just boil via the “sheeting method of a spoon”. You dip a metal spoon in and hold it sideways like to poor the jelly off. If it runs down to one drip, it is watery, if it forms two side by side drips, it is syrup, and if it runs off in more of a “sheet or flake” or indescribable bunch of drips together it is a jelly (reached jellying point). You can do this with concord grapes too. Lots of fruits have their own pectin and can work this way. Also, most jellies can be canned using “inversion” rather than waterbath. You simply put hot jelly into jar, screw on lids and bands, flip over for five minutes, flip back over and let sit 24hrs. I encourage you to look all this up on your own, but I have been doing this for 3 years now and greatly enjoy it. I especially enjoy apple jelly and apple syrup!!

    • Miles- Thank you for your comments. Always happy to hear from fellow jelly makers. You are correct about not having to use pectin on some jellies. I have made many jellies in the manner you described. Additionally, if one blends the pectin rich juice with less pectin rich juice one can extend the types of jellies you make without having to add pectin. However, for the sake of this blog I made jellies using no-sugar needed pectin in order to reduce the amount of sugar needed. As far as canning methods, my personal choice for this blog was to freeze all my jellies and jams rather than can. Growing up I was taught several methods of canning which are not recommended today by the USDA and the Cooperative Extension Service. In the interest of promoting safe jellymaking I recommend that if you do can your jellies (rather than freeze) to use the water bath method. Of course one can argue that I didn’t die from any of the methods we used back in the “Good Old Days” but I believe in better safe than sorry. For the modern viewpoint on canning safety you might find these articles educational:
      I am so glad Miles brought these topics to our attention.

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