Umeboshi Crabapple or Any Tart Fruit

Being open to flavors and textures that are off the beaten path leads to neat discoveries. This way of thinking not only brings you down the rabbit hole of discovering ingredients, but also has your flavor brain interchanging the drivers of any food making method.

When we went apple picking, there were crab apple trees interspersed to support pollination for the orchard. Of course, we couldn't help but try the fruit. Unfortunately, we went through several horrible astringent bites before we tasted something worthwhile.

The final tree was in an unexpected place on the border of the property that no one would normally approach. Honestly, the fruit from this tree was far better than anything we'd tasted on the farm that day. A blast of sweet tart that any engineered candy would be jealous of. Since our bag was full, we loaded up a tissue box.

Crab Apples Vac Packed with Salt and Tulsi

When we got them into the kitchen, there was some thought of what to do next. Then, a comment on a post from our friend Shawn suggested umeboshi. That's it!

Crab Apples Post 2 Week Salt Pack

Umeboshi is a Japanese salt preserved plum. It sounds simple, but the flavor has serious depth. If you've ever had one, it only makes sense to follow the preservation process with crab apples.

Crab Apples after Dehydration Day 1

Loosely following the method, the crab apples were vacuum packed with 10% salt by weight and a few healthy branches of tulsi, holy basil. We bought the lovely starter plant from our friend Jenny at Muddy River Herbals. After the fruit gave up its juices two weeks later, we put them in a dehydrator at 135 F because there aren't any sunny days around here for a while.

Crab Apple after 3 Days of Dehydration

After a few days dehydrating, the fruit became sticky, salty, tiny apple raisins. They were not nearly as salty as umeboshi, which made them pleasant to eat whole with a nice basil flavor coming through. We could have put them back into the brine they gave up as is traditionally done, but we didn't.

Crab Apples Vac Packed in Salt and Jasmine Tea

As with all that we do here, umeboshi is a powerful method that can be used on any tart fruit. Well, maybe just about anything you want to preserve can be done this way. We're thinking whole apples next.

As always, please share your discoveries so we can keep the ideas bouncing.