Along the Grapevine

Crabapple Squares


DSC02649I consider myself very fortunate  to have a crabapple tree growing in our front lawn, just steps away from our verandah. In the spring it produces showy pink blossoms, and the tiny red apples that appear in summer last well into the winter, although I only pick them before the first hard frost. The rest are for the birds – literally! The other day the tree was visited by some grey jays (aka whiskey jacks) which may soon be Canada’s new national bird emblem, and some winters bohemian wax wings pay us a visit. If the seedlings I transplanted survive this winter, I hope to have a few more of this magnificent tree in the future.

With the last harvest I picked some to make a jam – something so obvious but have never done before. It is really the same as the preserve I made before, but cooked for less time and, as a result, a little softer. Because crabapples have so much pectin, there is no need to add anything more than sugar and water – the jam kind of makes itself.

The first step is to cook the fruit in enough water to cover them plus an inch. Cover and simmer until the apples are really soft. Strain them through a food mill or press them through a sieve. To this liquid I used an equal volume of sugar, in this case two cups of juice and two cups of organic sugar. I then cooked it until it reached the ‘wrinkle’ stage, which is when a little is poured on a plate and tilted, the jelly wrinkles. Otherwise, 235 degrees F on a candy thermometer.DSC03295.JPGThis jelly is thicker than most, perfect for using as a filling. I also use it to add to dressing, marinades and sauces. This time I chose to make something resembling date squares but substituting them for the more exotic dates. DSC03297.JPG

Instead of using sugar for the oat mixture, I used a small amount of regular apple jelly, but any fruit jelly, honey or maple syrup would also work well.

Crabapple Squares


3/4 cup butter (or lard or coconut oil). I used equal parts of all of them.

1/4 cup fruit jelly or alternative sweetener, such as honey or syrup

1 cup flour

2 cups large flake oats

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

a pinch of salt

crabapple jam


Soften the butter and stir in the sweetener. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Put half the mixture into and 8 inch square pan or equivalent. Spread the jam evenly, then cover with the remaining oat mixture and pat lightly to flatten. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes, or until the top is nicely toasted. Allow to cool before cutting.

I invite you to drop in at this week’s  Fiesta Friday which I am co-hosting with one of my favourite food bloggers, Julianna from Foodie on Board. If you would like to share one of your own recipes, just follow these guidelines and join the party!DSC03300.JPG


Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

19 thoughts on “Crabapple Squares

  1. I’ve never had crabapples before, but I’m very curious as to the taste. Happy FF Hilda, your squares look yummy. Thanks for co-hosting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Jess. Crabapples have the flavour of apples but much stronger and more tart. Because they usually need to be cooked, they are mostly overlooked as an edible, but I would like to see that change. They really are one of my favourite fruits.


  3. Enjoy fiesta Friday!!
    I’ve never tried crabapple either, and every year I think I should!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I used to pick crab apples on my way to school. Lovely tarty taste. Great idea, Hilda.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Hilda! You make me jealous of the beauty and bounty that you are surrounded by! What a gorgeous sight to look upon and what a delicious treat you have made from the crabapples. I mostly see them sitting on the ground around here. If only everyone knew that they could be transformed into something so wonderful! Happy Fiesta Friday to you! 😀


    • Thanks Julianna. It has been a great year for crabapples, and apples for that matter, but I was not very good at picking them so I don’t have the bounty to show for it. They really are a treat, but I think sometimes it’s hard to believe anything so local and so easy to come by is actually worth picking, so they are usually left to the birds.


  6. Hilda – there are a couple of gorgeous crabapple trees in the parking lot beside the Wolfe Island Ferry dock. They were thick with crabapples this year. I wanted to go and pick them but between deadlines and leaving for Spain I never managed. Hopefully next year! I love the look of your jelly. And your squares are beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks Lindy. I have never seen crabapples like the ones this year. I didn’t get out to some trees I coveted because it was just too hot and time was short when things got cool again. Now I’m regretting it. Thanks for stopping by and hope we can catch up some time soon.


  8. I love this recipe, Hilda! My grandmother used to make ketchup with her crab apples. Wish I could say it was good but I didn’t care for it. This jam looks delicious, though. I hope your little trees make it through the winter!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Hilda
    I love crab apples. Where I lived before I always picked them and made jelly. Your apple squares sounds like a great treat 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Love these bars! I have a very similar recipe but, of course have never tried crabapple jam. You inspire yet again!


  11. I made these tasty beauties! So delicious too! 🙂


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