Yes you can eat crabapples, although they have a very sharp, bitter taste if you were to eat them raw and if you ate too many of them they would cause you to have an upset stomach, but they would not poison you.
Crabapples are best cooked before they are eaten. They contain very high amounts of pectin, tannins and acetic acid which cause them to have a bitter taste but also these attributes make them perfect for roasting or creating jams and jellies as they soilidfy well and have a strong apple, tangy, tart flavour.
The crabapple tree is an ancestor of the cultivated eating apple tree and has over 6000 different varieties. They are known as an ornamental fruit tree as they are used more for their appearance than for eating. They are widely populated throughout Europe and some varieties can live to over 100 years old and grow to heights of over 10 meters tall.
The trees appear irregular in shape and have a wide low hanging canopy, they have a brown silvery bank which gets very knarled as the tree ages. The short branches develop twigs and the brown, pointed leaf buds have a soft hair on the underside. The deciduous leaves are just over 2″ in length and are oval in shape with a jagged edge around the outside.
The crabapple tree is pollinated in early spring by bees which are attracted to their perfumed flower petals. The crabapple tree is a member of the Rose family (Rosaceae) and provides food through its flowers for bees, its leaves for moths and through its fruit for birds, badgers, foxes and rabbits. Many crabapple trees are planted in commercial orchards as they attract pollinating bees early in the season.
Crabapple wood is very suitable for carving and turning, and the chips produced from the wood can be used to produce a beautiful smoke for flavouring many meats, cheeses and fish. The firewood from the crabapple tree produces a high heat, slow burning fire which is great for campfires or other outdoor cooking events. A yellow dye can be extracted from the crabapple tree and used to dye wool used in clothing.
There over twenty five different types of crabapple tree in North America. They are used by many landscapers to brighten up a dark or dull area as they produce a vibrant blosson in spring and many types have a red fruit which helps to add colour to dull environments.
Many crabapple trees in North America take their name from a specific region in which they grow fro example:
The Southern crabapple tree, which grows in Virginia, Florida, Louisiana and Arkansas can grow to over 30 feet high with a trunk thickness of over 1 foot in diameter, it has a distintive sharp taste and the apples are only 1″ in diameter. https://plants.usda.gov/factsheet/pdf/fs_maan3.pdf
The Midwest crabapple variety grows in Wisconsin, Montana, Kansas and Indiana. https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_PLANTMATERIALS/publications/ndpmcrb11922.pdf
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