To make syrup:
10 cups granulated sugar
4 cups water2 cups vinegar
24 inches cinnamon sticks
4 teaspoons whole cloves
Mix all ingredients and bring to a boil in a large pot.
To prepare crab apples:
Wash and prick with a fork or skewer, one 4-quart basket of crab apples. Place crab apples in boiling syrup and cook until tender (only 2 to 3 minutes). Then pack into jars. Strain spices from syrup and fill jars, leaving head space.
Put snap lids and rings on and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes (quart jars) or 15 minutes (pint jars).
Yield: 5 one-quart jars.
Cooking the crab apples longer allows more to fit into the jars since they will be softer, but will result inmore split skins and a few more squashed fruit. They do not look as attractive for serving.
In 2004 we made one 7-litre basket of crab apples, cooked only 2 to 3 minutes, and ended up with 16pint-jars. One-and-a-half times the recipe for syrup was needed for this amount. The short cookingtime meant fewer apples fit into a jar, since they were firmer, which resulted in more jars, and thusrequired more syrup.
If you cannot find true crab apples, then mature but undersized regular apples can be used. The fruit ofornamental crab apples is certainly edible but the majority of ornamental varieties do not produce fruitbig enough to bother with.
–Submitted by Jean S.