I have an outstanding recipe for Apple Bread. It does use a lot of sugar, seems best when paired with firm, crisp and tart apple varieties. Granny Smith is my go-to.

Since it still is not lacking for sweetness, at all, I began pondering whether I could make this using crabapples. I have zero experience with crabapples, except maybe biting into them and spitting them out as a small child, back when parents let their kids roam the neighborhoods like packs of feral dogs.

Are crabapples considered to be edible, but not especially delicious, or are they considered to be, generally, not edible (or even are dangerous to eat)?

  • 1
    Internet seems to be full of crabapple recipes, so I don't think they're poisonous.
    – Lorel C.
    Oct 19, 2017 at 21:13
  • Thanks for the answers, both are good, and relevant. My "best" choice was based on having a bit more detail. Oct 23, 2017 at 15:57

2 Answers 2


Some crabs are better tasting than others. Ornamental crabs, to my knowledge none are inedible, but tend to be very small, and high skin/seed to flesh so tend to be too much trouble to bother with. Larger crabs though can be very desirable for some applications. They are often blended in mixed ciders, both sweet and fermented. They will be tart to very tart and even bitter, but when blended with other juices add what many people consider a very refreshing bite to the juice. Candied crabs and apple butter are commonly made with them and they can be used for jams other applications especially mixed with other apples to increase tartness.

There are a wide variations of varieties, just as with full size apples, and some will seem better than other. If they are wild seedling trees rather than grafter varieties, the quality of the fruit may be hit and miss, and even some of the cultivated named varieties may be astringent, especially some which are marketed for their hard cider characteristics where the astringency is desirable. If the particular ones you have will work will be mostly dependent on your tastes and the variety, and how willing you are to work with the smaller fruit. Even the sweetest crabs are likely to have a lot more tartness than a granny smith.

  • As noted , there are a wide variety. I believe I had "Dolgo" a large very red crab. It made excellent jelly , I never tried it in a pie as I had several regular apples. Oct 20, 2017 at 1:04
  • Dolgo crabs were about one inch in diameter. Oct 20, 2017 at 1:18
  • 1
    @blacksmith37 Dolgos happen to be a favorite with us who mess with cider too. A bit bigger than most crabs and usually oblong and bright red. They often produce a red juice as well. A very common variety used with candied cinnamon apples as they often need less artificial coloring for the tradition bright red.
    – dlb
    Oct 20, 2017 at 14:23

Yes, they are edible and they have historically been eaten although not widely adored as "good eating".

Description: The fruits of crabapple trees are round and fleshy and typically red, yellow, orange, or green in color. These fruits belong to the pome variety and attract mammals. They tend to be beetween [sic] 1/4 and 3/4 inches in diameter and mature in dense, showy clusters appearing the months of September or October until December...

Because of their sour taste, crabapples are usually not eaten raw by humans; they are sometimes used as condiments Often used for cooking flames for smoked foods, crabapple wood releases a pleasant aroma while burning very slowly.

Quotes from YaleNaturewalk.edu


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