Common Names: Apple / Eating apple / Úll milis

Scientific names: Malus domestica

Family: Rosaceae (Rose)

The wild ancestor of our familiar domestic apple tree is also good eating


The crab apple tree looks similar to a domestic apple tree, reaching to 20m but they are thornier and the oval leaves are hairless when mature. The white-pink flowers emerge in May. In autumn it is easy to spot the small yellow-red flushed crab apples in the trees.


Our eating apples (Malus domestica) resulted from the domestication and breeding of wild crab apples (Malus sylvestris). These tarter, less sweet fruit can be stewed (with sugar, honey or other sweetener), used to make crab apple jelly or fermented to make cider, apple cider vinegar or a country wine. The high pectin content in apples makes them good for setting jams of low pectin fruit such as blackberry.

Medicinal uses:

Apples contain pectin which helps set jams and soothes gut irritation as well as providing soluble io


Crab apple jelly (or bramley apple)

6lb apples, 5 ¾ pints water, 2 organic lemons, 1lb granulated sugar to every 1 pint of juice

Wash the apples, leave on peel and cores and cut into quarters. Windfalls are OK but cut out bruises. Put the apples into a large stainless-steel saucepan with the water and thinly pared zest of 2 lemons and cook for about 30mins until reduced to a pulp. Pour the pulp into a jelly bag (or two layers of muslin) over a deep steel/ceramic bowl and allow to drip until all the juice has been extracted, usually overnight. Measure the juice into a preserving pan and allow 1lb sugar for every 1 pint of juice.  Warm the sugar in a low oven. Squeeze the lemons, strain the juice and add to the pan. Bring to the boil and add the warm sugar. Stir over a gentle heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat and boil rapidly without stirring for about 8-10minutes. Skim, test for setting, and pot immediately into sterilised jars.

(Part of Douglas Tidy Town’s Foraging Trail)