Berries, Sweets & Syrups

Crab Apple Wine Recipe

This year has been excellent for crab apples with many trees loaded with the small, sharp fruit, most likely due to the amount of rain that we’ve been getting over the past few weeks. Summer seems to have been and gone in a flash, and the cold, blowy Autumn nights seem to be upon us already, so what better way to cheer yourself up by having a go at making a batch of crab apple wine to enjoy another year.

Its worth noting that it can take over a year, preferably 2, for the crab apple wine to ferment and become ready to consume, so its not really something that can be enjoyed quickly. The actual process of going out and searching for and collecting crab apples, as well as preparing the wine, are actually really good fun harmless fun in it self, so it could be a great way to spend a dull, rainy Sunday. And if you’re anything like us, you’ll put a lot of effort into collecting the crab apples and preparing the wine, only to leave it fermenting in your garage and completely forget about it until 3 or 4 years later… in which time it inevitably ends up tasting like a sherry…

Anyway if you haven’t been put off yet then you should give this recipe a go. A good crab apple wine can actually be a very potent drink, a little like a very strong cider, so go wary when you’re finally ready to consume it as it can pack a surprisingly strong punch. Refreshing, yet very potent. Its definitely well worth giving the recipe a go, head down to any nearby forests and you should find an abundance of crab apples already fallen to the floor – these ones should be fine to use, you’ll only be crushing them yourself anyway so it doesn’t matter if you use fallers plus by leaving plenty in the trees you’ll be providing food for any wild animals to enjoy – horses and pigs love to feast on them even if humans don’t (they leave a very bitter taste – coming from a first hand experience).

crab apple wine recipe

Crab Apple Wine Ingredients

4 kilograms / 8.5 lb’s of Crab Apples
1 Campden tablet
Teaspoon of Pectozyme
1 kilogram / 2.5 lb’s of sugar
300 grams / 8.5 lb’s of raisins
Teaspoon of yeast nutrient
Sachet of Champagne yeast

Crab Apple Wine Recipe

Gather up around 4kg of crab apples and then give them a wash and de-stalk them with a knife. You then need to crush them – this is the fun part. An apple crusher or press is ideal, but obviously not everyone is this fortunate… everyone else can use a strong plastic bag, perhaps 2 black (unused!) binbags would be suffice – place the apples inside and then use a mallet or plank of wood. If using a mallet be careful as you don’t want to puncture the bag and spill apple juice everywhere…

Get 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of cold water and drop in your Campden tablet. A Campden tablet is a sulfur based product which is used to kill bacteria which grow during the fermentation process, preventing many other wild yeasts from growing which would affect the flavour of your crab apple wine. The tablet should dissolve in the water, allowing you to add the contents of your bag – the crushed crab apples. Next, you need to add a teaspoon of Pectozyme. This is a pectic enzyme, which helps to break down the pectin found in the apples – pectin is found in the cell walls of plants. By breaking the pectin down it helps to speed up the extraction of the juice present in the apples.

Place the concoction in a cool, dry place and cover it with some kind of lid. You will need to stir it every day for 4 days. Don’t worry what it looks or smells like at this stage, its early days yet. You will next need to strain out the mixture into another suitable container. Then you can add the 1kg of sugar followed by the 300g of raisins. Give it a quick mix and follow this up by adding the final ingredients – a teaspoon of yeast nutrient and a sachet of champagne yeast. The sugar helps with the fermentation process and also helps sweeten the wine, and the raisins also help to impart a deep, fruity flavour. The yeasts are obviously required to help with the fermentation of the wine.

This mixture will need to ferment for a week in similar conditions before straining for a final time, pressing the raisins in the process to extract their juices into the wine mix. And here it is, ready (well, not quite)… you’ll need to avoid temptation and leave the wine to ferment for around 18 months, ideally longer. But remember, the longer you leave it the stronger it will get, so we recommend that you consume it between 18 and 24 months. When the mixture has fermented for long enough you can start to bottle it up. Remember to follow the routine of sterilising the wine bottles and equipment used in order to prevent your hard work going to waste.

I’d love to hear your own crab apple wine recipe suggestions, and would equally love to find out if you gave this recipe a go!

  • TheWineBrewer

    I’ve got a great video on making apple wine here:

    • Debbie Henson

      I am about to make crab apple wine. Haven’t made it for about 25 years. This was a great refresher for me and will be a great lesson for the newbies I am passing knowledge on to! Thanks from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, PS It is 22 degrees today but we will get 5 cm of snow tonight. That is what happens when one lives close to the Rockies. It will be pretty and pretty cold!

      • Hey Debbie great to hear you’re going to try it, please keep us posted on how it works out!

        • Debbie Henson

          I will it is currently in the cool dark working away now. We got our snow which damaged and killed many trees that still had their summer foliage. Very sad costly millions of dollars to clean up the whole city. Also many folks went without power for a couple of days. Our fruit trees withstood the storm and we have collect a good harvest. I’ll let you know how it good from here.

          • Karen M. Nadow

            Hi Matt,

            Only thing I was not sure of was if I should have mixed again after adding the Champagne Yeast and Nutrient? The instructions did not say, so I did not.

    • Karen M. Nadow

      Many, Many Thanks as I am a complete novice? YES! i will keep you posted…..Sincerely, K

  • Karen M. Nadow

    When you say “strain” do you also mean “squeeze” or just let it drip?????Please, I am straining today? karen

    • Hey Karen, I’d let it drip – good luck! Hope I’m not too late replying. Let us know how you get on!

  • Karen M. Nadow

    Hi Matt,

    A little late as I did all yesterday? We let drip for a while than squeezed gently, but firmly through cheesecloth. The liquid is nice and clear. Added yeasts, raisins, sugar. Mixed as directed, put lid on. Now in cool cellar for a week, then back in original pail with device on top to let gasses escape. GREAT color! Many thanks, please keep in touch as I know I’ll have questions?

    • Sounds great Karen thanks for the update, I’ll keep my fingers crossed! Sure, let us know how it turns out and if you need any help.

      • Karen M. Nadow

        Hi Matt,

        How much liquid should I have after the “final” squeezing with raisins? I have approximately 1 gallon?????

        PS: Can the wonderful raisins be used something else now?

  • Karen M. Nadow

    Hi Matt,

    Is there any use possible use for the wonderful raisins now, before they spoil? Have been in fridge for 3 days?????

    • Sorry Karen didn’t spot your reply! If its not already too late they’d make a great addition to a cake, or slightly alcoholic flapjack!

      • Karen M. Nadow

        It’s been 5 days, and even though they are in the fridge….I’m not sure now? They were the most expensive item at $29.00….Also, how much liquid was I to expect in the pail after squeezing all? I have just under a gallon. Please reply…Karen

        • Around a gallon sounds fine really. You’ll have to try a raisin to see – might not be worth risking otherwise!
          Good luck!

  • Karen M. Nadow

    Thanks Matt, I’ll just put them in the compost. Looking forward to giving you a good report in March 2016!

  • Laval Palendat

    I am terrible at following directions and I added the raisins at the start..what will happen? Did I wreck this batch?

    • admin

      Sorry for the delay getting back to you Laval! I hope you continued with it; it shouldn’t cause much of an issue. Let me know how it turns out!

    • Sorry I missed your message Laval, did you go ahead with the wine batch in the end? Hope it worked out well either way!

  • Ray Butterworth

    … “300 grams / 8.5 lb’s of raisins” … !

    I hope no one is using the American measurements.
    Eight and a half pounds of raisins seems more than a little excessive.
    I’d suggest something like 10 ounces.

  • Karen M. Nadow

    Hi! Wine started 9/20/14…DONE! Got wine bottles and was told to rinse in a food safe acid wash, warm water, let dry completely. Glass looks cloudy? Is this ok? Karen

    • Hey Karen, that all sounds fine, glass colour shouldn’t be an issue as long as it’s clean! Best of luck with it, would be great to see some photos when complete! 🙂

  • Karen M. Nadow

    Hi Matt, Will try to get some photos today, Monday the 4th of April…….

  • Karen Krawece

    A question , just to clarify am I meant to leave the wine fermenting in the carboy for 18 months and then bottle?