Being a Camp Cook requires being creative and observant. During an elk camp, near Vigilante Springs, in the Gravellies, I was trying to come up with some creative desserts. It was late in the week and provisions were getting low. This is when a resourceful Camp Cook earns their salt!
When I was scouting around the camp, I found several Crab Apple trees along a nearby creek. There was an old home foundation nearby and my guess is that they may have been planted years ago.
Crab Apples have been used by Native peoples since time began. These small wild apples are the original heirloom apples that we have today. They were used for food, medicine, smoking, and for their wood. Apple wood is durable, hard, and strong. It was used to make handles on tools and weapons. The apple smoke flavored smoked meats and fish. Crab apples were also smashed into pemmican cakes.
The name Crab Apple may have come from their astringent, sour taste. The trees shape is also crablike. One original domesticated apple is named the Whitney Crab Apple. It was created in Williamsburg, VA, in the 19th century. Perhaps Johnny Appleseed spread some of these tart, small apples. They are abundant throughout North America.