Spiced Crab Apples

As a desert or served as a complement to meat, home canned crab apples are tasty additions to many eating occasions.


  • 4-1/2 cups (1125 ml) granulated sugar
  • 3 cups (750 ml) water
  • 2-1/2 cups (625 ml) white vinegar
  • 4 inch (10 cm) cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) each: whole allspice and whole cloves
  • 8 cups (2 L) stemmed crab apples, pricked with a fork
  • about 3 lb (1.4 kg) or forty 1-1/2-inch (3.8 cm) crabapples


  • Place 6 clean 500 ml mason jars on a rack in a boiling water canner. Cover jars with water and heat to a simmer (180°F/82°C). Set screw bands aside. Keep jars hot until ready to use.
  • Preheating Bernardin® lids is not advised. The sealing compound used for our home canning lids performs better at room temperature than it does pre-heated in simmering water (180°F). Simply wash lids in hot, soapy water, dry, and set aside until needed. Preheating can lead to less vacuum being achieved during water bath canning, and to buckle failures during pressure canning.
  • Combine sugar, water and vinegar in a large stainless steel saucepan. Tie cinnamon, allspice and cloves into a large square of cheesecloth, creating a spice bag; place in saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil; boil 10 minutes.
  • Wash and stem crab apples; drain but do not peel. To avoid bursting fruit, prick each crab apple with a fork. Add crab apples to boiling mixture and return to a boil. Stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, boil gently, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until crab apples are tender. Do not overcook. Discard spice bag and remove saucepan from heat.
  • Pack hot crab apples into a hot jar to within 3/4 inch (2 cm) of top rim. Add hot liquid to cover crab apples to within 1/2 inch (1 cm) of top of jar (headspace). Using nonmetallic utensil, remove air bubbles and adjust headspace, if required, by adding more crab apples and hot liquid. Wipe jar rim removing any food residue. Centre hot sealing disc clean jar rim. Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Return filled jar to rack in canner. Repeat for remaining crab apples and hot liquid.
  • When canner is filled, ensure that all jars are covered by at least one inch (2.5 cm) of water. Cover canner and bring water to full rolling boil before starting to count processing time. At altitudes up to 1000 ft (305 m), process –boil filled jars – 20 minutes.
  • When processing time is complete, remove canner lid, wait 5 minutes, then remove jars without tilting and place them upright on a protected work surface. Cool upright, undisturbed 24 hours; DO NOT RETIGHTEN screw bands.
  • After cooling check jar seals. Sealed discs curve downward and do not move when pressed. Remove screw bands; wipe and dry bands and jars. Store screw bands separately or replace loosely on jars, as desired. Label and store jars in a cool, dark place. For best quality, use home canned foods within one year.