Pickled Crab Apples

I’m working on translating a ghost story, but on the meanwhile this might interest you.

Pickling is a process of preserving and storing food.  I pickled my cucumbers last month and they turned out real good so I’m using a similar recipe for the crab apple that I picked from my dad’s garden last Saturday.

I soak the crab apples in ice cold salt water for several hours. Then put the crab apples in canning jars.

Ingredients: brown sugar, black pepper seeds, chopped garlic, distilled vinegar, sea salt and water.

Instruction: boil cold water in a stock pot, add sugar, sea salt, black pepper seeds, chopped garlic and distilled vinegar when the water starts to boil. Lower the heat and let it simmer for about 5 minutes, then turn off the stove and let it sit to cool. Add the cooked water in a canning jar of crab apples and close tight with a lid. I’ll keep these in my pantry and it should be ready in about a month or so.

Updated August 15, 2010, it’s ready.


  1. I never eaten a pickled crab apple. Do you eat it with certain dish? After it is pickled, does the crab apple turn sour or sweet?

    • Seeharhed, it is considered a negative calorie food snack, and I like to eat it with hot sauce. Here is a photo of one that I pickled last year, but I did it the Lao style.

    • Carsten, they are a very small fruit the size of a cherry and extremely sour. This is too early to harvest but I think it should be okay to pickle, most of my American co-workers thought I was crazy to pickle crab apples since it was already sour, hopefully the ingredients I put in will sweeten it up a bit. I think American use it to make jam or juice. They have beautiful flowers in the spring, to see the photos and read more.

  2. yumm! My aunt gave me some crap apples the other day and it was yummmy!! I need to ask her where she get them at so I can pickled them too!

    • mozemoua, tum crab apple is good also. If this batch turn out good, I’ll do another one next month. My dad has a lot on his tree.

      • Nye, be nice and send some to me!!! I am just joking!! I’ll ask her where she bought her crap apples from, they are so yummy!

        • mozemoua, they should have some available at the flea market now, the last I saw was at the temple where they sell them at $1 per bag. Either that or look for some crab apple trees in the city area. 🙂

  3. My grandparents used to have a couple of crab apple trees on their property but I could never recall them making anything from them. I think I might have tried to eat them at one time and they were bitter or something like that.

    • Jeffrey, we didn’t have this in Laos and I’m not sure how we discover that we could eat it with hot sauce and even making it into Tum Crab Apple. It’s very sour especially when picking it this early, but I think it tastes better when it’s ripped.

  4. I never had crab apples before, but it probably tastes delicious with lots of hot pepper. It reminded me of pickle (jujube?) apples in Laos.

    • Kim, Jujube is Mak Kathun, I love that pickled also. I thought most Lao-Americans ate Crab Apple before whether with Jeow or making it into Tum. You need to try if you could get your hand on one, you should look for it in the park or near a government building, they like to grow them.

      • I just finished off my last jar of pickles too. They were so good that I’ll be making two more jars on Sunday.

        Your jars of pickled crab apples is making my mouth water now. And to top it off they are so cute too. 🙂

        • Cambree, I think fresh pickled cucumber taste a lot better than store bought kind. I’m ready to pickle another batch of crab apple and this time the Lao style, only adding salt water and sugar.

    • I’ve never heard of pickled jujubes. Sounds interesting.

      But I have eaten pickled Asian star gooseberry and they are great.

  5. This is a late reply on this blog, but I’ve been looking the way to pickly my crab apples the Lao way. Can you give me instructions? Thank you!!

    • Hi See, I think the Lao way is to boil salt water, let it cool before pouring into the crab apple jar, seal tight and it should be ready to eat in a couple of weeks.

      I added more ingredients in my version above but it does taste a lot like the Lao pickled crab apples.

  6. I guess I better start making mine soon before they all fall off the tree. Thanks for the reminder and your recipe.

    • PaNoy, my dad didn’t have many on his tree this year, kind of odd. I think I need to plant my own crab apple tree.

  7. these look fabulous. I just picked 11 pounds of crabapples today. I really want to try this. Do you know about how much brown sugar/salt/vinegar/water to use per 1lb of crabapples?

    • Hi Allison, sorry for the late reply. I didn’t measure the sugar/salt vinegar/water contents, I added the ingredients and tasted the mixed water and if it tasted good then it’s okay by me.

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