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Old 06-07-2012, 04:25 PM   #51
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Greeting All,

I usually prefer trial and error to get answers, but when working with inherently labor intensive fruit, sometimes the trial and the error are too great and too risky, and it's just better to ask. I am working on a cyser for this fall which will be heavy in crab apples, hopefully at least 50%, depending on yields (as of now it's looking hopeful ...). I have read through several of the threads here regarding working with crab apples, and have found them most helpful. I like the idea of freezing the apples, as opposed to using heat. In fact, I felt a little silly not thinking of it myself, since I already use the freeze method for melomels. Thanks to Yooper for the great ideas. I am also going to try your idea of fermenting the crab fruit in the primary. I figure I can finish the crab cyser separately, and then blend it with the regular cyser. I have noticed the controversy surrounding the idea of fermenting the fruit when working with apples in general. My guess is, crabs are less juicy than regular apples, therefore justifying the different handling. Can anyone corroborate this? Are there other reasons for the different handling?

Second, the crabs in my orchard - Wickson, Whitney, and Virginia Hewes - have good sized fruit, as opposed to the smaller ornamental crabs. All except for one, the Evereste crab. The fruit on the Evereste is one inch at best, probably closer to 3/4 on average. This little bugger is particularly labor intensive. The Evereste fruit has good attributes, however, so I DO want to use it. I am hoping I can get away with NOT chopping this one, but just smashing it up with all the rest, and letting the chips fall where they may. Hopefully, the Evereste will impart some of its goodness with this minimal processing effort. Thoughts?

Last, would still be any benefit to sweating the crab fruit for a few weeks, as with regular apples, prior to chopping and freezing?

Thanks in advance,

zipmont

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Old 06-16-2012, 02:12 AM   #52
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If the small crabs are tasty, simply using them with the others is fine. The idea is that you don't want to crush the seeds, but you do want to smash up the fruit. Freezing/thawing really helps with this, and so it's not so labor intensive!

I use mostly dolgo crabs and centennial crabs for my wine. Mainly because that's all I have but I do love the flavor. They are considered "eating" crabapples, but they are tart.

I just freeze them whole (removing the stems and washing them) in big food-safe bags. I don't do anything else to them.

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Old 06-19-2012, 08:29 PM   #53
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Sounds good. I think the freezing aspect probably makes sweating unnecessary, since it has a similar effect of breaking down the fruit and maximizing yield, etc ... I may still press the juice from my wickson crabs, due to their 2+ inch size. They'll make a nice addition to the cider apples, golden and roxbury russets. But for the rest of the crabs, I think your method is the ticket. And I really like the idea of turning 20 pounds of fruit into 5 gallons instead of 1. I can always blend later if it seems like the thing to do. Or not ...

I really need to get some of those dolgo and centennial crabs. I've heard great things about them, and I've also seen them in the local nurseries here in the Pac Northwest, which generally indicates they are compatible with our climate.

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Old 09-20-2012, 01:30 PM   #54
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Yooper - I'm hoping you can help a newbie...

If I've got a bucket with apples/water/sugar up to my desired mark how accurate is my initial sg reading? I'd imagine once the apples are removed on day 5 that I'd have to add quite a bit of water to bring it back up to my desired mark and that this would alter my SG quite a bit. Do you compensate for this somehow or am I missing something?

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Old 09-20-2012, 01:34 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by carrie_mt View Post
Yooper - I'm hoping you can help a newbie...

If I've got a bucket with apples/water/sugar up to my desired mark how accurate is my initial sg reading? I'd imagine once the apples are removed on day 5 that I'd have to add quite a bit of water to bring it back up to my desired mark and that this would alter my SG quite a bit. Do you compensate for this somehow or am I missing something?
Yes, the SG reading can be accurate. A good thing to do is to pull the apples out (just lift up the bag) to see the volume. Once the apples smoosh up, you'll get a little more volume than that, but not that much. So bring the water/sugar up to the volume you want, scaling up the recipe. I hope that makes sense!
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Old 09-25-2012, 12:11 PM   #56
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Thanks Yooper! That makes sense! I've got it going now so I'm just in the waiting game...

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Old 10-03-2012, 12:42 AM   #57
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One gallon recipe

6 pounds crabapples
water
1 campden tablet
1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
wine yeast
1 tsp yeast nutrients
About 3 pounds sugar
honey (if wanted)

Crush apples, but do not cut or crush seeds. Put in large mesh bag and add enough water to cover apples in primary. Add 1 crushed campden tablet. Stir well. Cover loosely with a towel. 12 hours later, add pectic enzyme and stir well. The next day, add sugar to desired sg (usually 1.085- 1.100) in enough water to bring to one gallon in the primary, then add nutrient and wine yeast. Stir daily for 5 days. Keep loosely covered.
On the 6th day, strain and discard apples. Rack into secondary and top up to one gallon with water. Rack about three weeks after fermentation has ceased. At this point, you could mix 1/2 cup of honey with one cup of of wine, and rack the wine into that. Fermentation should start up again, if it doesn't add 1/2 tsp nutrients. This can be done several times, if desired, for a sweeter wine.
(I'm doing one batch with honey, and one without)

Rack every 45 days- 3 months until no more lees drop. Bottle at 6-12 months.

This wine is very good dry- the crabapples give it a kind of spiciness lacking in most apple wines. It could be sweetened just a little for a nice table wine, or sweetened more for a dessert wine.

Any thoughts on 5 gallons? Just x by 5? How about bruised fruit? I have a 5 gallon bucket full of fruit I saved from the garbage. I want to use it for wine if possible
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Old 10-03-2012, 01:11 AM   #58
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Any thoughts on 5 gallons? Just x by 5? How about bruised fruit? I have a 5 gallon bucket full of fruit I saved from the garbage. I want to use it for wine if possible
Yep, for 5 gallons just multiply by 5, except for the yeast. One package is enough.

I'd cut out any bruised areas before freezing, but I'd only use good fruit. The rule for winemaking is to not make wine out of anything you wouldn't eat fresh.
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Old 10-03-2012, 04:11 PM   #59
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I am going to be getting ccrabapples tomorrow. I am wanting to make 5 gallons. So I know to multiply everything as mentioned my question though is my largest brew bucket is only 7 gallons. Do I make in that container then top off after primary fermentation? I also have two 5 gallon buckets, should I maybe split?

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Old 10-03-2012, 07:46 PM   #60
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I am going to be getting ccrabapples tomorrow. I am wanting to make 5 gallons. So I know to multiply everything as mentioned my question though is my largest brew bucket is only 7 gallons. Do I make in that container then top off after primary fermentation? I also have two 5 gallon buckets, should I maybe split?
I did 5 gallons of this last year. I was able to fit about 25 lbs of apples in a 6 gallon bucket. I fermented just the apples and then topped off with invert sugar and honey. I'll get out my notes when I get home, but I definitely ended up with less than 5 gallons and had had to top off.

This is a very good wine. Crisp, dry and slightly fruity. I wholeheartedly recommend making as much of it as possible.
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