Crab Apples

My friend Gail brought me this bucket of the loveliest, perfume-iest crab apples I’ve ever seen. And then she gave me some more.

I’ve been looking through my Putting Food By and Ball Blue Book for ideas–they seem stuck on the jelly and spiced pickled recipes, and though I’ll probably sort through and pickle the non-blemished ones, and perhaps make a few jars of jelly, there’s got to be other fun things to do with these.

By the way, I think it’s a pretty good indicator of a need for sleep if you’re walking down the street saying: “crap-apple” and “ker-bopple” and bursting out laughing. Or even thinking of those words causes you to start giggling. And you haven’t been drinking.

Anyhow, in the meantime of coming up with delicious crab apple recipes, I pickled seven jars of dilly beans. Well, I tried to. Two (!!!) of my wide-mouth pint jars lost their bottoms in the canner. I was able to get one of the jars’ contents salvaged, re-packed, and back in the canner, but that was my last batch of wide-mouth jars (that don’t have food in them already). So I ended up with six jars sealed and intact.

The dilly beans are from a simple recipe: garlic clove and chile pepper flakes on the bottom, stuff with beans, dill heads on top. The brine is a simple 3 cups water-3 cups vinegar-1/3 cup salt solution. About 1/4-1/2 inch of headroom and 15 minutes processing time. The biggest pain of the dilly bean project is cutting all those beans to the right length and fitting them the long way down into the jar.

I took the edible, cast-off ends of the beans and roasted them with summer squash and sage, salt, pepper, and olive oil. This is getting to be my favorite roasted vegetable mix of the season–it smells almost mushroom-y when it’s roasting, and hopefully will keep the beans from getting (the horror!) spongy in the freezer.

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