There is little information in pomology about the crabapple or sour apple. Locally, it is called Surapal and has been cultivated in Hardanger, Norway for hundreds of years, where the trees were previously planted in pastures and gardens. There is evidence from the 1800s that apples were pressed into juice, stored in wooden casks and transported to the city of Bergen for sale. Apple juice sour most was used in households in different ways in food preparation. This was the case in other European countries where a form of unripe juice was made from fruit such as verjus in France (made from grapes), sureple (crab apple) in England, kalla agraz in Germany, and agresto in Italy. Making this form of green or unripe juice went mostly out of use when the lemon was introduced. In recent years, production has started up again in several countries in Europe and Australia, for example, the Presidium La Bona Usanza in Marche, Italy. In Turkey and Arabic countries, this has been an unbroken tradition to the present day.
The crabapple is smaller than other varieties, with several color variants; green, light yellow, dark yellow-red, and red-green. Flavor profiles also vary according to color. The green is bitter-sweet and sour, yellow is bitter, yellow-red is sour and finally, the red-green is bitter and sour.
The apples are not raised in a historic production area, but rather in the gene resource center in Hjeltnes.