Facts About the Fruits of a Crab Apple Tree

If you have ever come across crab apples, two things might have caused you to wonder if they can be eaten. The first of the two is their size. These fruits have similar looks to regular apples. The second thing that would have prompted the question in your mind is their size. When compared to regular apples, they are much smaller. These fruits are grown on trees as well.

Interestingly, they are also found in orchards and even décor that has dried fruits or blossoms that are used for wreaths or placed in branches. The fact that they are used in this manner brings their edible nature into further doubt.

Therefore, in this article, we will answer the question “can you eat crab apples?” and what are the nutritional values you can get from eating this fruit.  Are they like the common apple when you eat them?

Let’s get started, shall we?

Are they Safe to Eat?

Crab apples and regular apples belong to the same Malus genus. In terms of size, the crab apples are considered to be immature regular apples. The trees they grow from were bred to produce smaller fruit which accounts for their small size. Since crab apples are distinguished from normal apples by size, generally, any type of the Malus genus that is smaller than 5cm (2 inches) is regarded as crab.

The color of this fruit is usually yellow-green, unlike its larger cousins that have a wide range of colors. While yellow-green is the most common shade they come in, some of them are bright red. This can cause a bit of confusion as some have thought them to be cherries. One easy way to be sure of what you have in your hand is to cut it open. If you see seeds and a core instead of a pit, then you can be sure that you are holding a crab apple.

Many people think that these fruits are poisonous; this is not true. Nevertheless, you should not eat the seeds and the core. Hence, while they are generally edible, those parts of the fruit are not. The reason the cores are not edible is that the seeds contain cyanogenic glycoside in trace amounts just like that of their larger cousins.

When cyanogenic glycoside is metabolized, it changes to cyanide which is a poisonous substance.  You can visit this link to learn more facts about cyanide. While cyanogenic glycoside ingestion can lead to cyanide poisoning, the amount found in the seeds of this fruit is very negligible. Hence, before you can have any cause for concern, then it means you would need to swallow so many seeds for any negative effect to take place.

With all we have said so far, crab apples can be eaten. However, the same way you do not eat the core and the seeds of larger apples, you shouldn’t eat the core and the seeds of this either.

How are they eaten?

Now that we have established that they can be eaten, you would want to know how they are eaten. Ordinarily, you will think that they are eaten in the same manner that you would eat normal apples.

However, most people do not eat them that way, and for good reasons. These fruits are not palatable and sweet. Instead, they have a spongy texture and a very sour taste. The Centennial and Dalgo trees are known to produce the most eatable type of this produce.

As we mentioned earlier, this fruit is used as decoration; therefore, some of them were not exactly bred for eating but for their decorative fruits or beautiful flowers. However, you can still eat them if you choose to, but you need to be ready for the sour taste we just mentioned. You can eat them raw or place them in smoothies or salads or slice them to make a jam.

You can also bake them to caramelize. When they are baked in this manner, they are much sweeter. If you intend to use them for culinary purposes, the Whitney and Chestnut varieties are the best. As a rule of thumb, the bigger they are, the sweeter.

Nutritional Value

In terms of health benefits, these fruits provide the same benefits as normal apples. Click here to read more about that. Hence, they can also keep the doctor away, but you will have to take up to four of these a day due to their size to ensure that the doctor is kept away. Hence, the nutrients contained in one regular apple will be found in the four of these fruits.

Here are some interesting nutritional values of one crab apple:

  • Has 18 calories.
  • Contains 5 grams of carbs.
  • Has 1 gram of fiber
  • Has a daily value (DV) of 2% vitamin C.
  • 1% DV of potassium
  • And 1% copper DV

Hence, with the 4% Fiber DV, you will enjoy heart and digestion benefits when you eat just 1 of this fruit. The vitamin C it contains will also help your immune function and skin health. Furthermore, it contains anticancer compounds and antioxidants that battle free radicals that cause chronic diseases and speeds up aging.

When you eat crabapple, also eat the skin as half of the fibers, as well as polyphenols, are contained in the skin.


Although the crabapple is safe to eat, there are some precautions you need to follow…

  • Do not eat any wild fruit that you aren’t able to confidently identify.
  • Do not eat the core and the seeds.
  • If you own pets and have the tree in your garden, ensure that they do not eat the fruits. It could be very fatal.


Crabapples are small apples and are edible and safe if you do not eat the core and seeds. Even if you did eat them, they are not deadly except you consume a very large amount. Not only are they edible, but they also have health benefits. However, you will need to eat a lot to enjoy the nutrients within them.

Leave a Comment