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Where to find/buy Crabapples?


Found a wonderful crabapple recipe that I wanted to try out. Does anyone know where there are any crabapple trees around Boston (particularly Somerville/Cambridge) or of any vendors at the farmer's markets that might sell some?


553 Palmer Ave, Falmouth, MA 02540

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  1. They grow all over the place as ornamentals. Just take a look around your neighborhood and if you see something that looks like a small apple, take a bite. They are literally everywhere.

    Also a lot of the Cambodian markets and Asian markets carry them some times. Cambodians eat them as a sort of snack with spicy salt to dip them in.

    9 Replies
    1. re: StriperGuy

      How would you identify by taste if they are crabapples? I've come across various apple trees in my walks - would love to know!

      1. re: threedogs

        Take a look at Google images:


        Most crab apples are tiny. The shape ranges from apple-like to more berry shaped.

        The color is always very apple like shades of green, red, and yellow. There are dozens of varieties growing abandoned in the New England woods. Again originally planted as one of the apples in hard cider and also often as ornamentals as well.

        There really isn't anything else out there that can be mistaken for them that I know of but check with an expert to be sure.

        They are tart and tasty and good to just nibble on. Once you know what to look for you will start noticing them everywhere. Along the Charles river, by the side of the highway, in your neighborhood...

        1. re: StriperGuy

          OK, now that certainly cleared up a misconception I've had nearly all my life! I always thought they were small, but not that small - and it means that the many trees on the same property (a business) that has two regular sized apple trees near me (which I'm trying to identify) - are crabapples. Been trying to figure out what these were (my dog goes crazy for what's been on the ground since the winter - but then again, she's a dog & she eats paper, too, lol).

          This past winter (we moved here during the winter), I thought they were cherries, but after the new crop came in, I found out how hard they are - def not cherries. But I never suspected that crabapples could be this small! Thx for the info, StriperGuy!

          1. re: threedogs

            Try one, this time of year they are tart and tasty just nibbled on.

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Great (and simple) idea. I did try one last winter - some were still on the branches. It was delicious & I was surprised this summer to see that they weren't cherries. Now I just need to plan out my harvesting... um... method. (as in, should I ask first... or be bold & just gather on off-hours).

              1. re: threedogs

                NONE is going to care if you pick crab apples, seriously.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I guess you're right, lol - I'd be saving them the joy of crabapples covering up half of their parking area. I did take a taste, btw - good, strong apple taste - tart & very tasty. These are tiny - about 1/2 or even 1/3 the size of a cherry. Will take quite a bit of picking, however, to get a worthwhile amt for jelly. Wish I still had a juicer - I'd try to make some hard cider! (maybe enough for a thimble..)

                  1. re: threedogs

                    They vary greatly in size. Hmmmm, you got me thinking about running some through a juicer, I actually made hard cider, with a little wine yeast once. It was really good.

      2. re: StriperGuy

        There is a crabapple tree right by the Southwest Corridor Park (headed towards Back Bay) at the Massachusetts Ave T station. As I walked by today, one elderly lady was hiking another onto her shoulders so they could harvest the tree.

      3. Russo's in Watertown has them, out in the outdoor area where they sell baskets of apples. I didn't catch the price.

        8 Replies
        1. re: stomachofsteel

          Are you sure those aren't "Lady Apples" a small, but not Crab variety?

          1. re: StriperGuy

            I would not bet my life on it or anything, but I'm pretty sure the sign said crab apples.

            1. re: stomachofsteel

              The sign DID say crab apples, but they were pretty large. Didn't try them to see if they were tart/ crabby.

              If you PYO from ornamental trees don't be surprised if they're pretty wormy. My folks have two 100% organic apple trees, and unless you want to live the punchline of "what's worse than a worm in your apple" you have to carefully cut up the apple to make certain they're 100% vegetarian. For mid-sized apples that's not a problem, and they make a lot of applesauce so it doesn't matter if they end up in pieces. Organic crabapples would be a lot of work for potentially not a lot of reward.

              1. re: cpingenot

                Crab apples don't get nearly as wormy... I think the tartness and tannins bum out the worms.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I have a few crab-apple trees in my yard, and I can not acquire a taste for them off the tree, and find them just aweful raw.
                  The three things I make with them are crab-apple jelly, crab-apple butter and a crab-apple chutney.
                  The apples on my tree can get loaded with worms if I don't care for the trees early in the season.

                  1. re: Infomaniac

                    Must depend on the variety, cause I see SO many all over the place wild and semi wild, untouched by bugs.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      Yeah, I agree - the ones near me have no bugs at all.

            2. re: StriperGuy

              Could be crab, they often sell those for cooking or jam.

          2. There are many types of crabapples, ranging from those that are relatively large and good for eating, to those that are extremely tart and tannic, better for jelly, to those that are ornamental (and sometimes tasty, though often too tiny and bitter to be of much use). What type of crabapples are you looking for? What is the intended purpose?

            The only ones I have specific knowledge of are from Keown Orchards, who sell at Copley and perhaps other markets, I'm not sure. They've had Chestnut Crabapples, which are amongst my very favorite for eating. Very sweet, crisp, aromatic and delicious. They are a bit bigger than a gold ball, golden and red with russeting.

            553 Palmer Ave, Falmouth, MA 02540

            4 Replies
            1. re: celeriac

              Most crabapple varieties were originally grown for making hard cider. The tart/tannic component complemented the sweet of other varieties. They were never meant for eating solo, but as you say are good for jelly, for cooking, and well for cider.

              1. re: celeriac

                That's good to know about Keown Orchards. I was hoping to make a crabapple jelly (possibly also a spiced syrup) with them.

                1. re: artofdescribing

                  Hmm, unfortunately I don't know that the Chestnut Crab would be any good for those purposes, as it's more like a mini eating apple. But they had a few older apple varieties, so it's worth giving them a call to see what else they might have. If anyone happens to have any leads on local sources for crab varieties, especially those that are good for cider like Wickson, I'd be happy to hear as well.

                  1. re: celeriac

                    Derby Farm on Rt. 117 in Stow has crab apples. I couldn't tell you what variety they are, but they were a nice deep red color and just labeled crab apples. Maybe Stow is out of the way, but thought I'd mention it.

                    p.s. They are my go-to place for cider, too (unpasturized), but they haven't started pressing yet, as of this past weekend.

              2. The location may be too far for you, but I bought some at Brooksby Farm in Peabody about a week ago. They made a nice crabapple-rose hip jelly. I didn't have the time to scout out a tree in my neighborhood. The Brooksby Farm crabapples were small, but much bigger than the ornamental varieties, and were a beautiful red color.

                1. I saw crabapples at Roche Bros. in Burlington yesterday.

                  1. In California, the Crabapple trees usually bloom early in Spring, and fruit is ready by the end of July. I had my own tree. However, this year, we are in a drought and have no crop. I am also looking for crabapples to buy, and will pay postage on 25# if someone can send them to me out here. They ship well, but so far, no
                    luck. Thanks, MaryMike

                    P.S. I'll share my grandmother's amazing apple butter recipe with anyone who
                    can provide them.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: marymike

                      You might try www.gouldhillfarm.com. The orchard changed hands a few years ago. The site says nothing about online ordering but the new owners have branched out into baked goods and extra events so they might be willing to ship an order. The variety there is the Chestnut Crabapple, which is excellent. I saw regular crabapples ($1.99/#) in a Burlington, MA, supermarket today. They were the size of Meyer lemons or clementines, which I take as an indication that the crop is good-sized this year in New England. All the early variety apples I am seeing are larger this year than last.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        That's funny, cause all the semi-abandoned backyard trees near me in Concord had a great year LAST year, my kids ate dozens, but almost no fruit this year.

                        1. re: StriperGuy

                          I agree....my crab apple trees bloom every year around Mothers Day and this year they barely bloomed at all due to the long winter we had I'm guessing and little to no apples this year.

                          1. re: Infomaniac

                            One neighbor has this funky strictly ornamental crab variety, the apples look for all the world like 1/2 size red delicious (unfortunately they taste like styrofoam) last year that tree must have had 300 healthy fruit. This year, not a single one that I can see.

                          2. re: StriperGuy

                            Well, thinking about it now, the signs say they are new season harvest, but NOT where. The Macouns I got last year were small but from an orchard closeby. I haven't been there yet this year to compare.

                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              Many classic apple trees have a pattern of alternating a year of abundance with a year of meager fruit. The modern varieties have been bred for better consistency. Don't be surprised if the neighborhood trees that have tailed off this year come back strong next year.

                              1. re: owades

                                Thanks owades, that rings a bell. Somehow all of the trees (6 or so) seem to be in sync. Perhaps a combination of a hard winter AND an alternating year.

                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  Friends with backyard trees had a bumper crop last year, zip this year. Part of it is care--professional orchardists stay on top of precisely timed pruning, spraying etc. (and paying helicopters to hover on freezing late spring nights) but most people just have to live with what nature provides.

                                  1. re: Aromatherapy

                                    I bought some from Foppema's Farm at the Copley Square Farmers' Market. They also had a light crop this year but they do have some that are more the eating kind than the ones you'd use for pectin or cider.


                        2. Wilson Farm in Lexington had some the other day. $1.99/lb, I think. Not sure where they were from.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: bear

                            i saw those. The sign said Massachusetts Crabapples

                            1. re: Locutus

                              You're right, they do say Mass. They still had some today.

                          2. Possible resource: www.neighborhoodfruit.com This site helps readers locate trees, which may be picked for free, on both private and public property.