crabapples-msg – 1/6/12
Period crabapples and their uses.
NOTE: See also the files: fruits-msg, apples-msg, verjuice-msg, Period-Fruit-art, fruit-pies-msg, cider-art, cider-msg, wassail-msg, marmalades-msg.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 10:01:58 -0400
From: "Jeff Gedney" <gedney1 at iconn.net>
Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Making verjuice
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
> How do you make verjuice from crabapples? I might actually
> have enough this year to harvest, and don't have any recipes
> (not even for crabapple jelly!).
Crabapples make a really good hard cider, but you make it
like a wine, and you have to give it enough time for the "secondary
fermatation" where the (extremely tart)
malic acid is converted to (not so tart) lactic acid and CO2.
This is REALLY necessary for Crab Apples as they have a
much higher amount of malic acid to begin with.
I have a tree in my yard that has some very, very good
cidering crab apples, they are red fleshed and about
the size of a baby's fist.
Alas the tree was sadly neglected before I moved in, and
so it is infested with a number of parasites, and I don’t
want to use the fruit. I am trying to grow cultivars, but
so far I have not got the knack of grafting the tree onto
new pure root stock. I will try growing from seed this year.
Most brew stores sell malo-lactic cultures, and good
yeasts suitable for cider. Or you can get them on line.
Wye labs (Wyeast brand) sells one that is specific to an
english type cider, but I have found my best results come
from Montrachet or Champagne yeast, though they are
trickier to use since they use up sugar at a slightly
You can usually rent a crusher at the local brew store
or pulse them through the food processor, and you can
make a cider press out of three food safe buckets, a
couple of two by fours, some foil and some cheese cloth.
- drill a bunch of 1/4 holes in the bottom third of one
of the buckets, put one bucket (the receiver) on the
ground (this may get messy, so make sure it is a floor
you can mop or do it outside). Cover two pieces of two
by four, each 18 inches long, with foil, and place on
top of the receiver. put the perforated bucket on top
of the 2x4s centered over the receiver. line the
perforated bucket with cheese cloth and start spooning
in the mashed apples until it is half full, and fold
over the cheese cloth to cover. Place the third bucket
inside the perforated bucket and push down to squeeze
out the cider.
There are ways to improve the yield and cut down on the
mess, but this is the fastest and cheapest way to get
If you do want to improve the system, take a 2X2 sheet
of 3/4 inch plywood, with a 3 inch hole in the center,
and 2x4s around the edges as a rim, and line it all with
foil. Put this on the receiver bucket, and put the foil
wrapped 2x4's on either side of the hole. then proceed
as above. Foil wrapped bricks inside the presuming
buckets will make the pressing easier, and it's less
likely to knock the whole affair over, which physically
leaning onto it can do.
If you want really good stability, make legs or small
sawhorses for the plywood to rest on, instead of the
reciever bucket. I recommend this strongly.
Dragonship Haven, East
(Stratford, CT, USA)
Apprentice in the House of Silverwing
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 12:39:52 -0400
From: "Denise Wolff" <scadian at hotmail.com>
Subject: RE: [Sca-cooks] Verjuice
To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org
From: wildecelery at aol.com
> Mistress Andrea,
> Can you share the directions for making verjuice from crabapples?
Gather the crab apples and trim all the blackened areas. Then the apples are
crushed (I used a food processor) and Press (Cheesecloth) for their juice.
Place in clean container with cheesecloth over mouth of vessel. Allow to sit
at room temperature (I used the weekend). Then transfer to clean bottles and
cap (as if you were bottling wine or mead). Keep in fridge to maintain.
139. To make Verjuice.
Gather your Crabs as foon as the Ker-nels turn black, and lay
them a while in a heap to Sweat, then pick them from the Stalks,
blacks, and rottenefs, then crufh and beat them all to pieces in a
Tub, then make a bag of courfe Hair-cloath as big as your Prefs,
and fill it with the crufht Crabs, then put it into the Prefs and
Prefs it as long as any moifture will drop out, having a clean Veffel
underneath to re- ceive the Liquor ; then Tun it up in fweet
Hogfheads, and to every Hogfhead put half a dozen handfuls of Damask
Rofe Leaves, then bring it up, and fpend it as you have Occafion.
The Accomplifh'd Lady's Delight in Preferving, Phyfick, Beautifying, and
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2005 05:46:34 -0400
From: "Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius"
<adamantius.magister at verizon.net>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] crabapples
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
On Sep 20, 2005, at 3:59 AM, David Friedman wrote:
>> I think you can find directions for making verjuice from
>> crabapples in this Florilegium file, or at least references to
>> period commentary on doing this.
> The source I'm familiar with is 17th century--May.
Also Markham's "The English Hus-Wife". As I recall, the Best edition
has illustrations of the equipment you'll need, including an
intriguing long-handled hammer which looks like something out of "The
Shining", used to beat the crabs into submission/pureedom.
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 13:19:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: Katheline van Weye <kat_weye at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Sca-cooks] Crab-apples and Verjuice
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>
The discussion on historical apples reminded me of something...In 16th century English cooking, verjuice is made from crab-apples.
From Markham's The English Housewife...
31. To make verjuice
To make verjuice, you shall gather your crabs as soon as the kernels turn black, and, having laid them a while in a heap to sweat together, take them and pick them from stalks, blacks, and rottenness: then in long troughs with beetles for the purpose, crush and break them all to mash: then make a bag of coarse haircloth as square as the press, and fill it with the crushed crabs; then put it into the press, and press it while any moisture will drop forth, have a clean vessel underneath to receive the liquor: this done, tun it up into sweet hogsheads, and to every hogshead put a half a dozen handfuls of damask rose leaves, and then bung it up, and spend it as you shall have occasion.
Note: The "beetles" mentioned in the recipe refer to clotting beetles or mallets.