Ornamental Crabapples for Jelly

Asked August 29, 2013, 3:46 PM EDT

I am having a hard time finding a fruit-bearing crabapple tree to make jelly. I was wondering if ornamental crabapples are edible and could be used?

Marquette County Michigan

1 Response

You bet! Through ornamental trees are selected for their landscaping characteristics rather than for the quality of their fruit, they are absolutely safe to eat, and in your case, to use in making jelly.

In fact crabapple juice, being high in pectin (not to mention a beautiful color!), usually produces great jelly!

Note: The fruit from ornamentals may be smaller and a bit more tart. You may have to use more sugar than usual. You may also notice that more of the crabapple is seeds, so you will need more fruit as well as patience to prepare it.

A bulletin on this topic, prepared by Extension colleagues in Nebraska, may be found at:
http://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/articles/2007/ornamentalsfruit.shtml

Also, University of Wisconsin Extension has an excellent bulletin on Making Jams, Jellies and Fruit Preserves. There is a specific section on how to extract juice; crabapples and the specific ratio of juice to sugar is mentioned. Please visit:
http://learningstore.uwex.edu/Assets/pdfs/B2909.pdf
Scroll down and you may view or print a PDF version at no charge. You may also order a print copy for a fee.

Best wishes on your endeavor!