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These are crab apples that I discovered in our windbreak. They are a wild species of the apple tree, the genus Malus.


I discovered and harvested about 4 gallons of the cherry-sized crab apples just west of the main garden, in the windbreak. The little apples go from green to yellow to an orangey-yellow as they ripen. Despite being somewhat overwhelmed by the hickory behind it, the tree fruited heavily. I understand that the crab apple tree is a good pollinator for other cultivars of apples. The tree did not fruit last year. I think the honeybees helped to create this abundance. In two batches, I gave them a good wash, steamed them with some water (stems and pits included) until mushy, and cranked them through a food mill. After the pulp cooled a bit, I added some honey and spread the goo on parchment paper on the screens of my dehydrator. I dehydrated them at 135 degrees until they were not sticky. I rolled them right up in the parchment paper, classic fruit roll-up style. There was some astringency to the apple pulp but the honey seemed to neutralize that and I didn’t find the fruit leather to be astringent. There is a slight bitterness combined with a subtle tropical-like mango taste in the fruit leather that I find to be a little addictive. I will look to harvest more of these little apples next fall!

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