16 June 2014

The Crabapple

Can someone please confirm for me whether or not crabapples are actually edible? Because I know about the jellies, so don’t even start with me, but is it possible to just pick a crabapple off of a tree and eat it? And if it is possible, is it possible to enjoy it? Crabapples look like apples born in reverse: they are born like rotten, shriveled up little apples and then … well, I guess they also die that way—this isn’t Benjamin Button. 

But really, aside from the jellies, is anyone eating these things? Is anyone even eating the jelly? And if so, why? Do you think it’s the case that anyone who eats the jelly honestly doesn’t know that a whole other host of jellies and jams exist in this world? Like strawberry jam? Raspberry jam? Blueberry jam? Grape jelly? Orange marmalade? Peanut butter? Regular butter? Any of these options would be better than crabapple jelly. Lord knows I’ve never tried it, but my only encounter with crabapple jelly is as something that appears to be recycled through various people as Christmas presents. It doesn’t really seem like anyone is eating it. Its value seems to be as a generic, kind gift to give to someone you’re not very close with but feel obligated to do something for. And then that person passes the same jar onto someone else that they have a similar relationship with. It seems entirely possible to me that there are only about 2,000 jars of crabapple jelly currently in existence in the world today, and that these jars are passed around over and over again until someone finally throws one out and someone else finally makes a new jar. It would probably be a pretty interesting social experiment if everyone wrote their name, the date, and who gave them the jelly on an attached sheet—like that book exercise, where you write your name on the cover or register online, and then when you’ve finished with the book, you leave it in a public space and someone else repeats the process.

It’s weird to me that crabapple trees are even still alive. I think that if I encountered one, I would be terrified that it was a sign of the apocalypse and wonder how I missed the first five seals. This will take some pushing and pulling, but after all, isn’t that what hermeneutics is all about? (It’s worth noting that now that I have read the first three books of the Old Testament I consider myself a bit of a hermeneutics scholar.) The sixth seal of the apocalypse references a fig tree casting off its unripened figs (Rev. 6:13), so if you ever see a fig tree shaking off her little figs, you know that the apocalypse is upon us, that repentance is futile, and that you’re most likely going to Hell. But if you see a crabapple… I don’t know, isn’t it kind of like a slow and resilient reminder that the apocalypse is coming? Its fruits are always untimely—there is no time for them—and they are always falling off the branches. I don’t really have the patience to continue with this train of thought. Honestly, it might be the case that there’s just not much here. 

I will try to end on a somewhat positive note: during my time at the tree farm I had to work closely with different strains of crabapple trees, and some of them are remarkably beautiful before the fruit begins to form. I even brought home a weeping crabapple—the most beautiful of the crabapple trees—and it promptly died. Crabapples are the worst. More like crapapples, am I right? 

(Finally: it’s worth noting that when I google image’d “crabapple,” google suggested I might also want to browse pictures of Lil Wayne. And you know what? I did.)

Why is this apple known as a crab?
Because it’s crinkled and gross and resembles a spherical scab.
And why does such a fruit exist in this world?
Only because the Apocalypse has not yet unfurled.
And does this awful thing have any practical use?
Only to bestow on others as less of a gift and more of an excuse.

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