When we moved to Blackheath (Blue Mountains) twenty years ago there was a large crabapple in our garden. I suspect it was planted by a previous owner, a professor of architecture who established the garden in the 1960s. The tree scarcely bore any fruit and eventually I decided it had to go. Earlier this year my partner Rob hacked about half of it down before other, more pressing matters called (the completion of our new house). As is often the case, and after an extraordinarily wet spring, the butchered remains blossomed like never before.

New Holland Honeyeater in the crabapple blossom.
New Holland Honeyeater in the blossom.

For once we had loads of crabapples. They have always been a lot bigger than my idea of how crabapples should look, and this season they are as large as small ‘ordinary’ apples.

The crabapple tree.

The birds have eaten a lot, especially satin bowerbirds and the king parrots pictured below. But as I write there are still a lot left.

Mr King Parrot in the crabapple.
Female king parrot about to feat in the crabapple tree.
Author with the apples.

The only thing I’ve heard of people making with the fruit is jelly. My friend Dianne who lives ‘up the road’ gave me a precious jar once…..the possums devour hers, so she only had a few to cook up. It was delicious, but shamefully I can’t be doing with all that straining through muslin and so on.

Crabapple jelly.

Hmm, a bit of Dr Googling and oh my word…….home-made plonk! Well this looks easier and well worth the effort. Yes, I’m going to make crabapple liqueur! 😍 It appears to be a lengthy process, but imagine the joy of this brew come winter. Four cups of vodka, oh yes! 😎

There is one, pretty serious flaw with my plan. In two decades I have never actually spotted a ripe crabapple. 😑😨 I’m hoping this gentleman might scare off the feathered thieves. He looks quite officious with that top hat and may have some authority.

I’ll let you know how I get on. 😍

By the way, it has also been a bumper year for my special apple tree.

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