A Crab Apple Urban Harvest

Around the corner from Kavanagh’s Mews you’ll find a series of crab apple trees planted along the footpath. September is the perfect time to catch them ripe as they fall. They can be yellow to red when ripe, and they grow and fall in dense clusters. 

Crabapples are small, extremely tart fruits and possibly the survivors of wild ancestors of the domesticated apple.  Biting into a crabapple is a bit like biting into a lemon - the taste is intensely sour, but crabapples come into their own when when used as a cooking ingredient added to other dishes.  Some cidermakers add a few crabapples in a batch to make the end flavor more interesting and complex.  Crabapples can also be pickled to make chutneys  which go particularly well with pork.

Because the crab apple is high in pectin, a natural fruit based gelatin, when they are cooked with a good helping of sugar, they develop a rich, ruby, red jelly. It’s a domestic delight when paired with scones or toast.

For one of the best Crab Apple Jelly Recipes available - follow this link:


You can make a variety of herb flavoured jellies by selecting herbs from Kavanagh's Mews garden. Either you can add the herbs (finely chopped) directly into the boiling juice or for a herb flavoured clear jelly, by tying the herbs in muslin and adding, as a bouquet garni, to the juice during boiling. 

Herbs like the grapefruit mint, thyme, rosemary and bay available from the garden make excellent accompaniments to crab apple jelly and are delicious served with meat dishes or used to enrich sauces and gravies.


A harvest of crabapples from Ballsbridge in Dublin. 

A harvest of crabapples from Ballsbridge in Dublin.