Feeling crabby? How to cook crabapples
Yay! I found crab apples at our local mini market this week! Love when a dangerous food’s name gives me the opportunity to go off on a tangent.
Here is a shortlist of a fraction of the things that can make me feel crabby, followed by a recipe for some sweet-tempered crab apple butter, originally borrowed from some Mennonites (tweaked version below). Please contribute to my list of crabbiness catalysts with your own in the comments.
Things that can make Ann crabby
1. Horseflies, and/or Deerflies. Mosquitoes also make Ann crabby, but in a one-to-one bug cage match, a horsefly or deerfly would win hands down. Unfortunately, mosquitoes rarely travel alone, so let’s just leave this bullet point at “bugs in general, especially those that bite.”
2. Taxes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite socialist, I just hate submitting my tax return. I don’t even prepare it myself. But I hate preparing it for the preparer. I might just be a nightmare to my friends and family for the whole month of April as a result. Are taxes due after April? I may have repressed the month of April.
3. 3:00-5:30am. At first I was going to say, “When my cat wakes me up in the night, because if it’s not kids waking me up I’m crabby extreme,” but then I realized that even if my kids wake me up I’m pretty crabby extreme, so basically it’s just those hours on the clock, generally. If I’m awake then, I’m crabby, no matter what the circumstances.
4. Overcooked meat.
5. My kids say I’m crabby when I have a ponytail in. I actually wear a ponytail quite a bit. Maybe it’s because I was awake between 3-5:30 and so in the true morning I’m too tired to blow dry my hair. My kids might have a point.
6. A shopping trip to Sephora. I feel like all those eensy weensy jars of eye creams for $100 come from the same huge vat of sour cream in the back room, and the pretty little chicks pushing 5 of them on me drives me nuts. But don’t worry. I’ve been boycotting cosmetics for years, socking the cash away so that when they come up with a way to buy a brand new face I’ll be first in line.
And… now we’re getting into too much info territory. Here’s a tasty early fall recipe for you, using the very dangerous crabapple (in saying “dangerous,” here, I’m referring to my theme rather than actual danger, except for the whole cyanide in the seeds thing. Just don’t eat too many of those. And keep the crab apples away from pets, mm kay?)
Mennonite Crab Apple Butter (serves 6)
- About 30-40 crab apples
- 1.5C sugar
- 1C water
- 1Tbsp cinnamon
- 1tsp nutmeg
- 1/2tsp allspice
- 1/4tsp ground cloves
Directions: Boil apples in a pot of water, 45 minutes. Squash them (using sieve, if you like) and throw out any hard bits left – there will be a hard seed pod in each mushy apple. Here’s where I stray from the Mennonites. Throw all that good pulp and those skins into your slow cooker and add the remaining ingredients, making sure there’s enough water (about a cup) so that the slop is mobile and won’t stick to the bottom. Turn slow cooker on high and let it go for a few more hours, finally boiling off any excess water on the stove if you’re looking for a thicker butter.
(Know why I used a slow cooker? Because house fires also make me crabby, and I’m not Mennonite enough to watch the pot for hours).
Results: I served the crab apple butter over pork chops,
and while it was like a sweet apple butter, it also had a bite to it that got into your cheeks, a bit like tannins in red wine. Pretty cool. If I had a crab apple tree, you could be sure I’d make this a tradition for every fall, and I might even learn how to can it. Smells up the whole house, in a good way. Rating: 3 Yums
Question: Let’s hear it! What makes you crabby?