5 Ingredients or Fewer

Crab Apples in Brine

October  6, 2015
0 Ratings
Photo by Panfusine
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Makes 1 large jar
Author Notes

Childhood memories of food always tend to be precious. One such memory for me was my maternal grandmother's home in a remote village in South India. She always used to have a large ceramic 'bharni' (jar) filled to the brim with Amla (Indian gooseberry) preserved in brine. These fruits are tart and crisp and extremely delicious when pickled or made into chutneys. We get rather terrible excuses of specimens in the frozen section of an Indian grocery, but those are certainly not worth the effort to make these brined pickles. The closest I could find in terms of texture were crab apples. I was a bit hesitant to share this recipe before hand but a gathering of fellow bloggers I'd invited for lunch last year tasted a batch I had made and pounced on me for keeping this particular recipe hidden. They ensured that I would be one of those strange oddball types actively seeking out and stripping the apple trees of crab apples when I took the kids apple picking this year. —Panfusine

What You'll Need
  • 25-30 crab apples (the bright red unripe ones)
  • 2 cups Brine
  • 5-6 green chilies slit down their length
  • 1 lemon cut into thick half moon slices
  1. Wash and completely dry the crab apples , retaining any stems.
  2. prepare the brine by combining 2 cups of water and 1/4 -1/3 cup salt. bring to a boil dissolving the salt completely and remove from the heat.
  3. Add the crab apples, green chiles and the lemon to the hot brine. allow to cool and store on an airtight jar for a day or two to let the apples soak up the salt. After that, just use the crab apples like you would eat any other brined pickle.
  4. Keep the jar refrigerated to minimize spoilage.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Panfusine
  • mela
A biomedical engineer/ neuroscientist by training, currently a mommy blogger on a quest for all things food - Indian Palate, Global perspective!

5 Reviews

mela September 23, 2018
Another question: is the lemon peeled before slicing and adding to the mix?
Panfusine September 23, 2018
Nope, the peel soaks in the salt and acquires a tangy achar like quality by the time all the crab apples are scarfed down. My current batch has Meyer lemons which has a very thin and fragrant peel.
Panfusine September 23, 2018
Initially I let them be on the counter for about a week, and them move it to the fridge after that.. Quite frankly, not sure how long they can be in the fridge, never made a large enough batch for it to go past a month , they're quite addictive.
mela September 23, 2018
Thanks Panfusine, that's very helpful.
I use a similar technique for fermenting vegetables, so understand your process better now. I'm excited to try making your almost-South-Indian fermented crabapples this week!
mela September 23, 2018
Hi Panfusine,
A question about method: while the crabapples are initially soaking up some salt, are they refrigerated? Or does that stage happen at room temperature?
And how long do you estimate they will ultimately keep in the fridge?