Although it is partially against my general 'good enough is good enough' philosophy I have a terrific weakness for crabapple jelly (or crapapple jelly as I keep trying to write it). The first time I had it was at Everett Road Christian Holiday Camp as a child. The camp was supported by a local church, and the baking and provisions were always hearty. I was intrigued by the pale pink jam and it quickly became a favourite. I'm sure I nagged my parents for it, and would have learned that it is not a supermarket staple. Decades (ouch) later it is still a mainstay of markets and home cooks. You still can't get it at the supermarket, so if you want it then making your own seems to be the best bet.
Today's jam is nearly two years in the making. Two years ago I had a terrible year, lost a daughter in the second trimester and then had two more early miscarriages. While I had purchased some New Zealand natives to plant commemerating Joanna, I wanted something for the other miscarriages. Idle, grief laden wandering around the plant centre found me in front of the apple trees. We do not have a lot of space, so purchasing a fruit tree was always going to be a once only thing. Crabapples are not eating apples, they are pretty much just decorative, or for jamming. There were some apples on the tree, already red.
At home I planted out the tree and pretty soon lost my few apples to the birds - too slow. The tree grew steadily, fed often with 'worm tea' from our worm farm and lots of zoo-doo! There were no blooms last year, but a lot of growth. This year my Mum was visiting and noticed tiny apples forming. They have been steadily growing and look healthy and delicious!
With the help of a few extra crabapples from a friend's tree I decided to make the jelly today. There are any number of good recipes to follow - the Edmond's cookbook has a good one.
I have a few beautiful pale pink jars of jelly sitting on my windowsill, and enough crabapple jelly to last long enough to get sick of it!