In this week’s Heirloom Recipe Series, we are so excited to feature a recipe from the collection of Winnie Abramson. The daughter of a chef and restaurant owner, Winnie’s love of cooking began from an early age. She decided to incorporate her passions for cooking, green living, nutrition and photography to produce the wonderful and informative blog Healthy Green Kitchen. You’ll find everything you need to know from making homemade mozzarella cheese and nutella hazelnut spread to a yummy homemade throat remedy and how to start composting. Oh and it’s super organized and easy to navigate too! The recipe Winnie shares with you today could not be more interesting, creative and delicious sounding. Here at IceMilk Aprons, we cannot wait to get in the kitchen with this recipe and we have a feeling you’ll feel the same way too!
My grandma Bessie was a lot like me: feeding people made her happy. When she died a few years back, I inherited her recipes.
I keep her recipes in a box, and every now and then, I go through the contents piece by piece. Her greatest hits are all here - Jewish favorites like her brisket and her bundt kuchen- these are the recipes that she made often. But there are also many recipes in the box that while written out on cards in her perfect script, weren't part of her regular rotation (or at least the rotation I knew as a child).
I always wonder about the story behind these recipes. Are they recipes she actually cooked? Or did they simply intrigue her, so she wrote them down and kept them, but never actually got around to making them?
This recipe for Pickled Crab Apples is one of the handwritten recipes in Grandma Bessie's collection. I honestly have no way of knowing whether or not this is something she ever made. But she saved it for a reason- it meant something to her- and making the recipes she lovingly preserved is how I stay connected to her.
Recipe for Pickled Crab Apples
Makes 3-4 quarts
How this recipe ended up in my grandmother's collection is a bit of a mystery to me. A bit of internet research tells me that pickled crabapples (also called spiced crabapples) are traditionally made in the South (where she never lived), but I also found reference to the fact that these might have been served at Jewish holiday meals. Note that as is typical for me when I follow pretty much any recipe, I made some changes. You'll find my adaptations at the bottom of this post.
*6 pounds crab apples
*5 cups sugar
*1 1/4 cups cider vinegar
*1 stick cinnamon
*a few whole cloves
*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon drop candy
1. Wash apples. Do not remove stems.
2. Bring sugar, vinegar, cinnamon stick and cloves to a quick boil. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add cinnamon drops.
3. Add crab apples and cook over moderate heat for an hour- 75 minutes until apples are tender.
4. Lift apples with slotted spoon into jars.
5. Cook syrup 10 minutes after filling jars with fruit. Pour syrup over apples in jar and seal.
I halved the recipe and because I didn't have access to crab apples, I substituted the smallest, crunchiest apples I could find, and I cored and sliced them. I used organic brown sugar instead of white sugar, omitted the cinnamon candy and added an extra cinnamon stick. The result was a chunky applesauce heavy on the spice and tang, and really quite delicious.
Part of our Heirloom Recipe Series, featuring foodies, chefs, artisans, Southerners & fabulous folks willing to share their stories, recipes and photos in an effort to help preserve and share these family recipes for generations to come.