How to tell Crabapples from Apples

This season, we’ve had a lot of questions about crabapples versus apples, and how to tell the difference!

Crabapples start green and ripen red on the branch. They’re small (1/4 an inch – 2 inches), slightly ovular, and VERY sour. They’re unpleasant to eat raw. Crabapples have a stem and a crown like base. Sometimes this little crown can fall off when they’re ripe. See below above!

Regular apples are much larger. They’re much sweeter and larger! Apples can be small, but they do not look like the bag and basket of fruit above. Due to the many varieties in Toronto’s urban orchard, they can be green, yellow, rosy, or red when ripe. The photo below is a good illustration of relative size to a crabapple!

The only time when an apple and ripe crabapple would be of similar size is right at the start of the season. Right now, they should not be the same size and, therefore, you can feel fairly certain that your tiny lil’ apple is a crabapple! Don’t forget about our seasonal fruit guides. These guides give you a good idea of what is ripening when, and what this fruit will look like.

Crabapples make delectable tart jelliescrisp pies, and picante pickles. Happy picking!

Further Reading

Picking & Preserving with Romero House

A “Picking Blitz” with LoyaltyOne