I just got home from the Kitchener Market after stocking up on a variety of good things. I won’t be home until late tonight so I’m making my 1906 Berlin Cook Book recipe this morning. I found some crab apples at the market and decided to try using Mrs. H. Merner’s recipe for Pickled Crab Apples. I’ve made this sort of pickle many years ago using a different recipe. Let’s see how this one turns out.
I washed the crab apples, including the stems since it is customary to serve pickled crab apples with stems attached. It also helps get them out of the jar! I weighed them and found I had 2 1/2 pounds. I decided to make the full amount of the pickling liquid since it could be used for another batch of crab apples if I kept it in the fridge. I added 3 3/4 cups (1 scant quart) of vinegar, and almost a full 2 kg bag of sugar, plus about 5 cloves and 2 cinnamon sticks. I left it to simmer away on the stove at medium heat. I removed the cover once the sugar melted so that the syrup could reduce. I decided the crab apples were done when I could pierce the flesh but they remained intact. I kept checking every 10 minutes at the beginning and then every 5. These were large crab apples but they were ready to can after 30 minutes. Some had burst by then so I would recommend piercing the skin before cooking.
There are four different Mrs. Merners contributing recipes for the Berlin Cook Book. There are several possible H. Merners and not enough information yet to determine the identity of Mrs. H. Merner.
I sampled one crab apple fresh from the pickling liquid and I liked the mild spiciness. The vinegar wasn’t over powering and there was just enough sweetness. Crab apples are tart so they need some sugar. After a few weeks the flavour should be even nicer and often the liquid picks up some of the pink colour of the crab apples. They are great to serve with Thanksgiving dinner or other festive meals. They are even good in the summer if served icy cold.
PICKLED CRAB APPLES
8 lbs. of crab apples, 1 scant quart vinegar, 4 lbs. sugar, 2 sticks cinnamon, a few cloves; then set on back of stove let them boil very slowly until done.