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Hewes crabapples are very small, round, and squat in size, averaging 2-3 centimeters in diameter. The skin is green to light yellow with red blushing and some white speckling. The flesh is firm and cream-colored to yellow with a central fibrous core that runs the length of the fruit connecting to the long and slender stem. There are also a few brown seeds encased in the core. Hewes crabapples are crunchy, musky, and acidic.
Hewes crabapples are available in the fall.
The Hewes crabapple (a variety of Malus) has several names. It is sometimes spelled Hewe's crab, Hugh's crab, or Hughes crab, and is also called Virginia crab. It is a fairly well-known southern cider apple.
Apples, including crab varieties, are very nutritious. They are particularly high in Vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system, and dietary fiber, which maintains a good cholesterol balance and keeps the digestive system working. Apples also contain B vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, potassium, and phosphorous.
Historically, the Hewes crabapple has been used in cider making, and still is considered one of the best southern apple varieties for cider today. Hewes crab cider is flavorful and dry. It can also be used as for juice, as a dessert apple and for fresh eating. The cider pairs well with chicken dishes, seafood, and gouda cheese. The apples will last for one to two months under proper cool, dry conditions.
Crabapples are often sought out for cider making. The Hewes crab was particularly well known, and was planted by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
Crabapples are native to North America. This particular variety is fairly old. The Hewes grows best in Virginia, where it has grown since it was first developed or discovered. Hundred-year old trees were described in a 1817 book, so they likely originated in the early 1700s at the latest.
Recipes that include Hewe's Crabapples. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Handful and a Pinch||Crab-Apple Jam|
|Summer Acres||Crab Apple Jelly|
|Mama's Homestead||Crab Apple Sauce|
|The View from Great Island||Old Fashioned Spiced Crab Apples|
|Meanderings Through my Cookbook||Crab Apple Cheese|