There’s nothing like the taste of homemade crab apple juice, and you can’t buy it in stores. If you love crab apple juice, the only way to get it is to make it yourself. And while it’s a lot of work to pick the apples, make the juice, and can it, it is definitely worth it.
Over the years, I’ve made and canned a lot of crab apple juice using different methods. Each method has it’s pros and cons, and I have my favourites depending on what my goals are. Yes, you can have goals when it comes to canning and preserving, as silly as that may seem.
In this post, I’ll go over the three different methods I’ve used to make crab apple juice, what you need to make them, and the pros and cons of each of them. So get your crab apples ready and let’s make some juice!
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The Low Tech Way: Making Crab Apple Juice Without a Juicer
Making crab crab apple juice without a juicer is the most labour intensive of the three juice making methods, but it’s also the cheapest and best use of the whole apple.
In short, you cut the crab apples, removing the stems, cores, and blossom ends. You then put these apples in water along with some lemon juice, and either leave them overnight in the fridge, or cook them for 15 minutes and mash them.
After either of these processes, you strain out the crab apple bits and either can or freeze the remaining juice.
Because you’ve already cleaned the crab apples and there’s no inedible bits, you can then make apple sauce with the leftover crab apple parts.
I like making juice this way when I don’t have one huge stretch of time to make everything. I can cut apples in the evening, leave them in the water overnight, and then deal with everything else the next morning.
- Pros: No expensive equipment required. Work can be spaced out.
- Cons: Lots of cutting. The juice can get darker and not as clear.
The Fast Way: Using an Electric Juicer
We were recently given an electric juicer to try out this harvest, and I’m not sure I’m a fan. On one hand, it’s very fast to put the apples through the juicer. There’s not cutting and slicing–just press the crab apples into the juicer and that’s it.
On the other hand, I don’t like the “juice” you end up with. There’s a large amount of pulp that’s left behind and it was so slow trying to remove the juice from the very fine pulp. In the end, I decided that it wasn’t worth trying to separate the two, and just made the whole works into a smooth apple sauce.
I realize that I might not have used the best electric juicer on the market. However, I don’t juice vegetables or fruits on a regular basis, so it wouldn’t be worth it to me to invest in a high quality juicer. If you juice more regularly, then this might be the method for you.
Use this method if you have a lot of apples to process and very little time to do so.
- Pros: Fast to process the juice
- Cons: Juice is more like sauce if you use a low quality juicer
The Best Quality Way: Using a Steamer Juicer
I’ll be the first to admit that using a steamer juicer to make apple juice is a finicky affair. You must watch the water levels in the bottom of the juicer. The whole contraption is heavy. And finally, you have to watch your clamp and be sure the hose is perfectly secured. I have had the pleasure of having chokecherry juice spilled all over my wooden floors because I didn’t secure the clamp properly and didn’t lift the hose up. *whomp whomp*
But, if you want to make the prettiest and nicest textured juice, you’ll invest in the steamer juicer and do it anyway. Of the three methods, the steamer juicer makes the nicest juice, and the juice comes out hot enough to can it immediately.
Related: How to Juice Crab Apples
Steamer juicers are not cheap. But in my opinion, they are worth the investment because of the quality of the juice. You should also never have to replace it, except for the hose and clamp every 5 years or so.
- Pros: Beautiful, clear juice. Can can juice immediately.
- Cons: Expensive equipment. Learning curve to use the equipment without making mistakes.
Which Crab Apple Juice Making Method with you Choose?
Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear about your experiences and if you agree with me.
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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.