The Ups and Downs of Crab Apples: Different varieties and our experiences with them

If you’ve sworn off of crab apples based on some bad experiences – please give this post a read. Not all crab apples are alike! Different varieties have different features that make them great for different purposes.

There are many varieties of crab apples available on the prairies and the list of available varieties changes from year to year, with new introductions continually being added. They are often used for landscaping purposes because of their beautiful blossoms and colorful foliage.

The different varieties ripen at different times. Earlier in the season, most of our requests to pick were for the Rescue variety of crab apples, great for fresh eating, juice or jelly.

Ripe Rescue crabs on the tree

A delicious and easy way to use crab apples

Tired of trying to core your tiny crab apples? Here is a great juice recipe that takes very little effort. The recipe says to cut apples in half, but I tried it out with some very small crab apples and left them whole, stem on and all, and the juice came out great!

Crab Apple Juice


  • 4 quarts (4 L) Crab apples
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) Cream of Tartar
  • 5 quarts (5 L) Boiling water
  • 1-2 cups (250-500 ml) Sugar


  1. Wash Apples, cut in half and place in large stock pot.
  2. Sprinkle apples with cream of tartar and cover with boiling water.
  3. Let stand for 24 hours.

Poll: would you like apple juice?

We are excited to be planning several crab apple picks in mid-August in which the third of the fruit picked that would normally go towards the volunteers will instead go to making apple juice at Apple Junction. We would love to get your input on this – would you be interested in picking crab apples to turn into apple juice? Please answer the poll below so that we can see how many people are interested:

Since we need to drive the crab apples outside of Winnipeg to reach Apple Junction and pay for jugs, we’ll need to charge a small fee for you to receive some tasty apple cider. Please answer the poll below so that we can get an idea of how much you’d be willing to pay. That way we can work out if we’ll be able to conduct this endeavor.