Saturday, October 31, 2009

Apple Cider Press and Crab Apple Recipes

Ever cut an apple crosswise? What a wonderful discovery. Apples have numerous medicinal properties including relieving indigestion, a vitality booster, stomach acid neutralizer and potent quercetin source. A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve provides an extensive historical, medicinal and culinary account of Apples and many other Plants. I think the most delicious apples are those happened upon outside. You may even have a few neighbors who leave their apples and are happy to share the crop with you the eager picker.

I recommend tasting your apples prior to picking so not to end up with alot of crab apples. Discovering this the hard way I still found a use for a 5 gallon bucket full of crab apples including: crab apple jelly and crab apple liqueur.

Even though, we are past apple harvest season in NW Montana if you were a diligent forager and picked your apples before the early October Arctic Blast and have them in cold storage-you're ready for some homemade apple cider. I, on the other hand, delayed my 2nd round of apple picking and am now gathering them for my compost-boohah (The first round transformed into copious amounts of frozen applesauce). No less my motivation for hard cider will not be deterred next year. Below are a few plans to smash your apples with. We're building the "easy jack" frame this year for next year's stash.

Beautiful but Welding is Involved

Here's Mother Earth News cider press

Easy Jack Press with No Instructions
I found another farm that has a modified cider press with jack that looks easier to build-see pic

Jack Press with A Little More Instruction

These cats also built a cider press with some wood and a jack. You get the idea on materials needed now

On to Recipes

Crab Apple Jelly

Large Stainless Steel Pot

4 lbs Crab Apples

4 Cups Organic Sugar

5 cups Water




  • Wash and De-Stem Crab Apples (slice tops off-to speed this up)

  • Dump into Large Stainless Steel Pot

  • Cover with 5 cups Water

  • Bring to a Gentle Boil for 10 minutes stirring frequently

  • Smash Apples

  • Gently Boil 1 more minute

  • Pour into Cheesecloth lined Strainer and Drain Over a Bowl Overnight

  • Reserve syrupy juice in the morning and compost apple mush

  • Pour Equal Amounts of juice and sugar into large stainless steel pot

  • Rapidly Boil 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves

  • Transfer to Sterilized Mason Jar and process following your pressure canner's instructions

Apple Liqueur

Wide Mouth Mason Jar

Crab Apples

Dried Anise Hyssop or Lemon Balm


  • Fill wide mouth mason jar with crab apples leaving room for herbs

  • Top with Anise Hyssop or Lemon Balm

  • Cover with Vodka and Seal

  • Store for 3-6months

  • Strain and Reserve Vodka

Sip and Enjoy during a Snow Shower

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