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  • Writer's pictureRobert Adams

Glorious Trees

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

TREES ARE SUCH A FOCUS this time of year in northern Michigan. In October their attention-grabbing leaves produce a vast display of colors lasting for most of October. Then, bingo, a couple of frosty nights bring down the deciduous leaves that blanket the lawns and forest landscapes.

This November I’ve broadened my interests by taking in trees and shrubs that exhibit colorful fruit. Crabapple trees are my newest fascination. They drew my attention because I found a recipe for crabapple pepper jelly and wanted to make it for holiday gifts for my family and friends.

A foraging mentality came to me with delight as I drove around my village looking for these special trees dotting the landscapes. The above photo was of a crab tree on my local golf course that literally surprised and delighted me when I approached it. The red, one-inch-diameter fruit were on display artfully dangling from the skeletal branches of the 12-foot tall crabapple tree. It seemed to invite me into its branches where I picked a few pounds of these rather large beauties. It took me less than five minutes to collect enough jewels for my recipe.

A tidbit that came to me through this exercise was the amazing history the crabapple played in the westward expansion of North America. By definition, a crabapple is in the Malus family (same as apples) but is differentiated by fruit being 2" or less in diameter. Imagine the processing of these orbs into jack and jelly. How fun.

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