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How to Make Crab Apple Juice


One of my happiest childhood memories is of drinking crab apple juice straight from the jar at my babysitter’s house.  The juice was always accompanied by some tasty home baked cookies and delightful conversation.  Now that I’m older, I wanted to recreate the magic.


The Best Apples to Pick for Juice Making

Thankfully, friends of ours had an apple tree teaming with unwanted apples.  If you’re making juice, you can even use the apples that have fallen.  Make sure they’re not too bruised, and avoid those that the bugs have used for lunch.

I have found that a commercial ice cream pail (the ones in ice cream shops, not in stores) full of crab apples makes around 4 jars of juice.  This will very a bit depending on the variety of crab apples.

Related: 28 Hardy Fruits to Grow in Zone 2 and Zone 3

Have you ever wondered how to use up all your crab apples?  Try making homemade apple juice with a steamer juicer!  It's easy, healthy, delicious, and you control the sugar. #apples #crabapples #juice #juicing #canning #preserving #crabapplejuice

We also had a few sweet little helpers join us. . .

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No, I did not have a secret second child. This is one of my god daughters, Evelyn.

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30 minutes later the apples were picked and we were ready to make juice.  The help may or may not have eaten a few apples along the way.  No names shall be named.


Making Crab Apple Juice With a Steam Juicer

Back in the kitchen, it was time to get started steaming the juice.  You will need:

  • Two large bowls filled with water and lemon juice
  • One bowl for scraps
  • Paring knives
  • Juicer
  • Large canning jars with lids & sealers
  • Large pot for canning
  • Wire basket or device for transferring the jars in and out of the water.

Read your juicers instructions thoroughly before starting!!

These are my perfect pie apples to be frozen for later use. My juice apples just needed to be cut in half with the stems removed. Your juicer may require something different, so please read the instructions.
These are my perfect pie apples to be frozen for later use. My juice apples just needed to be cut in half with the stems removed. Your juicer may require something different, so please read the instructions.

Start by sterilizing your jars.  This time around I sterilized my jars in the dishwasher and was happy with how easy this method was.  Enlist some friends to help you cut the apples.  Have two large bowls filled with lemon juice: one for your perfect pie apples and another for the less perfect juice apples.  Put on some music and make an afternoon of it. . . you’ll be cutting for awhile.

Related: How to Organize an Apple Pie Making Day

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Timing is Everything

My juicer requires apples to be juiced for 90 minutes.  I found that I could collect already at 45 minutes, and again at 90.  I wouldn’t leave all of it for 90 minutes, because your juice will likely run over into your boiling water.  Make sure you check and replenish the water with boiling water every 30 minutes.


Truth time.  I steamed three sets of apples, getting just under 12 jars.  It took me around 7 hours, not including picking time.  I highly suggest setting aside a full day to make juice if you’re going to give it a try.

The extra effort is definitely worth it!  I’m looking forward to enjoying the literal fruits of my labour this winter.



Homemade Crab Apple Juice

4 hours
4 jars
3 gallons crab apples,
1 cup sugar (optional)

Cut crab apples according to your steamer juicers directions. Usually in half with stems is fine. Steam the apples for 90 minutes, collecting juice at both the 45 and 90 minute mark. If adding sugar, boil juice until the sugar dissolves. Pour into a sterilized canning jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Loosely screw on lid boil the jar for 10 minutes (15 high altitudes). The jars should have at least 1 inch of water overtop of them. Remove from canning bath and let cool. If any jars do not seal, put them in the fridge and use within 3 weeks.

Have you given juicing a try?  Let us know your tips and trick in the comments!  Or, if you’re new at it like me, post a pic of your efforts.





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Kristen Raney

Kristen Raney

Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots.  She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden.  She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.

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Hi, I'm Kristen and I help new gardeners learn to grow their own vegetables and beautify their yards. I also share recipes that use all that delicious garden produce. Grab a coffee (and your gardening gloves) and join me for gardening tips, simple recipes, and the occasional DIY, all from the lovely city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

P.S. First time gardener? You'll want to download the quick start gardening guide below!