Crabapple Harvest Guide
Crabapples are one of Toronto’s most underdog fruits, but when harvested and shared, they can be transformed into all kinds of delectable goods – think jelly, syrup, sauces and pies.
What they look like:
Crabapples are basically mini apples that vary in size from about 1/4 inch to two inches. They grow on long stems, similar to cherries, and have a crownlike sepal at the base of the fruit that can fall off when ripe. Crabapples can vary in colour from deep red to yellowish-orange.
When they’re ready:
Mid July to late September in Toronto (some varieties aren’t ready until October)
When to contact Not Far From The Tree to schedule a pick:
We’ll need 3-5 days notice to organize a pick so contact us when the fruit is almost ripe at email@example.com or 647-769-7425. Note: if crabapples are less than 3/4 inch when ripe, they are likely too small for Not Far From The Tree to harvest and share.
You’ll know they’re ready to harvest when…
When the seeds have turned brown. To check for seed colour, pick a few crabapples from different parts of the tree and cut them in half to find the seeds. The flesh should be firm and crisp but not so hard that you struggle to take a bite. When ripe the flavour is typically a mix of sweet and tart. If they aren’t ripe, they’ll taste bitter.
Pick by hand or with fruit picking poles. You can also shake the branches and let the crabapples fall onto a tarp below – they won’t bruise very easily so they can handle the drop.
Crabapples can be quite tart so you’ll usually want to process them rather than eating raw.
Some varieties last a few days, while others will last for a few months. For best results, store in a sealed container in the fridge as crabapples can pick up flavours from other foods like apples do. Crabapples also freeze well.
Check out our Fruit Guide for harvesting details for other local edibles.