Working through a bounty of crabapples? Use some of your harvest to make crabapple juice. You can drink it straight; add it to craft sodas and cocktails; or turn it into a delicious batch of crabapple jelly or crabapple syrup.
While crabapple juice starts with a ton of chopping, the process of turning crabapples into juice is actually quite simple. You just need two ingredient, and one of them is water. Though, you’ll probably want to add some sugar to that ingredient list, since crabapple juice tends to be pretty tart on its own.
I like to leave the skins, cores and seeds intact, until after I’ve cooked my crabapples. They’re easy to strain out at that point, so this eliminates a bunch of unnecessary knife work, and it ensures that you’re capturing all the natural pectin that’s present in the skins and cores. That may not be important, if you just plan to drink your crabapple juice, but it is important, if you plan to use your juice to make crabapple jelly or syrup. Crabapples are loaded with pectin. If you preserve it in your juice, you won’t need to add any store-bought pectin to your jelly or syrup.
Another big bonus of leaving the skins and cores in your crabapples: You can use the crabapple pulp that’s left over after making your crabapple juice to make crabapple sauce or crabapple butter. Getting two products out of one pile of crabapples will make all that knifework seem worthwhile. Because I’m not going to lie, while they’re is nothing hard about making crabapple juice, it does require a lot of chopping.
Crabapple juice can be refrigerated, frozen or canned. It’s just a matter of personal preference and how long you plan to store it.
Here’s how to make crabapple juice, and how to preserve it.
Crabapple Juice Recipe
This recipes makes approximately 8 cups of crabapple juice. Your yield may vary depending on the water content of the crabapples you use. Instructions are based on current recommendations from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Have more or less than 6 pounds of crabapples? This recipe is easy to scale. Just stick to the ratio of one cup of water for every pound of crabapples, and your juice will turn out great.
What You Do:
Remove the stem and blossom ends from your crabapples. Then, cut them into quarters, leaving the cores and seeds intact. They’ll start to brown right away, but it’s nothing to worry about. I used green crabapples in this tutorial, but you can use any color of crabapple.
- If you plan to use your crabapple juice to make crabapple juice or syrup, use a mix of 1/4 firm ripe (or slightly underripe) crabapples and 3/4 fully ripe crabapples. Since crabapples lose their pectin as they age, this will ensure you’ll have lots of pectin in your finished product.
Add your crabapples and water to a stockpot, and bring it to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
Reduce the heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the crabapples are soft. Be careful not to overcook your apples; you don’t want to lose all that good pectin.
Strain your crabapples through a damp jelly strainer bag, or double layer of cheesecloth, suspended over a large mixing bowl.
Allow the juice to drain out of the crabapples naturally. If you squeeze the strainer bag or cheesecloth, you’ll make your juice cloudy.
Planning to drink your crabapple juice? Sample it, and add sugar to taste. Planning to use your crabapple juice to make crabapple jelly or syrup? Leave it unsweetened for now.
Your crabapple juice will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. Freeze it or can it, using a water-bath canner, if you’d like to store it longer.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation calls for bringing the crabapple juice to a boil; then, pouring it into sterilized canning jars. Processing times vary by altitude. At my elevation (935 feet above sea level) the processing time is 5 minutes for pints and quarts, 10 minutes for half-gallons. Look up the processing times for your elevation.
For the best quality, use your frozen or canned crabapple juice within a year.
Be Sure to Save Your Crabapple Pulp
- 6 pounds crabapples
- 6 cups water
- Sugar to taste (optional)
Remove the stem and blossom ends from crabapples, and cut into quarters. Leave the cores, skins and seeds intact (they contain lots of pectin).
Place apples and water in a stockpot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until crabapples are soft.
Strain through a damp jelly strainer bag, or two layers of cheesecloth, placed over a large bowl. Do not squeeze crabapples, or you’ll make the juice cloudy.
Planning to drink your juice? Sample it, and add sugar to taste. Using it to make syrup or jelly? Leave it unsweetened for now.
Crabapple juice will keep in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Freeze it or can it, if you plan to store it longer.
To can your crabapple juice, following current National Center for Home Food Preservation guidelines, bring the juice to a boil; then, pour it into sterilized jars, and process it in a water-bath canner. The recommended time for your elevation can be found here.
Frozen or canned crabapple juice is best used within a year.
- Working with more or less than 6 pounds of crabapples? Just stick to the ratio of one cup of water per pound of crabapples, and you’ll get good results.
- Using your crabapple juice to make jelly or syrup? Use 25% firm ripe (or slightly underripe) crabapples and 75% fully ripe crabapples, so you’ll have plenty of pectin in your juice. This will help your syrup or jelly to thicken properly.
- Save your crabapple pulp, and use it to make crabapple sauce or crabapple butter.
- Prep Time: 1 hour
- Cook Time: 20 minutes (up to 25 minutes)
- Category: Canning
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Global
Keywords: how to make crabapple juice, crabapple juice recipe