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At first glance, their close relationship with cultivated apples is hardly recognizable. Ornamental apples are more like oversized cherries and have a firmer flesh. You can find out here whether the fruits are still suitable for consumption.

The small fruits of the crab apple Eleyi are edible

All ornamental apples are edible - not all are enjoyable

Ornamental apples are not poisonous. In view of their picturesque decorative value, the harmlessness is still being questioned. Such a cornucopia of floral beauty often goes hand in hand with a nasty poison content in the wild. In fact, you can safely eat the small fruits, because they do not contain any ingredients that have an unpleasant effect on humans and animals.

How the culinary enjoyment is ordered is of course another matter. The smaller the fruit, the firmer and tart the flesh. Fresh from the tree, you can usually only eat the larger ornamental apples, while the pea-sized specimens tend to contract your palate.

These varieties taste fresh off the tree

The following ornamental apple varieties are a feast for the senses. Not only do they enchant with their picturesque flowers and lush green leaves, they also give us juicy fruits that you can eat during the harvest.

  • John Downie: A historic variety that has produced yellow-orange, red-flamed, tart fruit since the 19th century
  • Eleyi: Wine-red apples with a sour-fruity taste thrive on slightly overhanging branches
  • Butterball: The 3-4 cm large, yellow fruits present themselves in autumn with red cheeks and invite you to nibble

At this point it should not be concealed that ornamental apples cannot hold a candle to their big brothers Malus domestica in terms of fruit enjoyment. The true value of Malus hybrids is based on their high ornamental value, which extends through all seasons.

Recipe ideas for ornamental apples

Don't you like eating ornamental apples fresh from the tree? Then there is a wealth of delicious preparation options. We have compiled some of the smartest recipe ideas for you here:

  • ornamental apple jam, e.g. B. from 1.2 kg of fruit, 500 g of preserving sugar, seasoned with lemon juice, cinnamon, ginger and 1 dash of rum
  • fruit brandy, e.g. B. from 400 g apples and 1 l fruit brandy, leave for 14 days
  • crab apple and orange jelly, e.g. B. from 800 g ornamental apples, 2 oranges, 500 g sugar, seasoned with cardamom and cloves

Ornamental apples are particularly tempting as a topping on the table. To do this, the peeled fruits are boiled for 5-10 minutes in a mixture of water, calvados and lemon juice. Mix the butter, sugar, eggs, cream, flour and baking powder into a cake batter that is poured into the wells of a muffin baking tray. Pre-bake for 10 minutes, push in the ornamental apples and finish baking.


The root system is designed to be so tolerant that you can decoratively plant ornamental apples with other spring flowers and perennials. With tulips, daffodils, forget-me-nots or wood anemones you can create a romantic appearance during the flowering period in spring. As the year progresses, summer perennials are added, such as cranesbill, yarrow, asters, phlox or daisies.

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