Originally Posted by ChrisLehrer
The pulp in crab apples is very enzymatic, and can destroy the gelling process. Try leaving just one or two jars to experiment with; in one, go plain (include pulp with liquid), and in the other add pectin. See what happens.
My bet: the jelly will be much more successful. But keep us posted on what happens!
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Chris, crab apples may be enzymatic, but as with many enzymatic foods chances are those enzymes are destroyed during cooking. I have found a number of recipes for Crap Apple Jam all over the internet, and while you can't always trust what you read on the internet some of those recipes come from places that I trust.
The reason why they have you strain the liquid off of the pulp is that jelly, by its definition, is just the jelled juice of the fruit, and thus should not contain the pulp. That's what makes it different from jam and other jelled preserves. Sure, it can be a waste, but it depends on what you are looking for in your end product.
Personally, I've made Crab Apple Jelly and it is an awesome product. I've never made jam or butter from crab apples so I can't say what the end product is like. I imagine that jam would be fine. I would wonder about Apple Butter from crab apples though. Seems like you'd have to add a ton of sugar and spices to combat their natural tannins. Would love to hear more from anyone whose had experience in this though.