Making Crab Apple Juice for Pectin

There are several varieties of crab apples. Most people do not use the ornamental crab apples because they are so small and tedious to use, but since we had them we thought we would not let them go to waste. Last year we tried making a batch of crab apple juice. I thought it was tasty, but everyone else thought it was just way too tart. Since it was not going to be a preferred beverage in our house, we decided to try making it unsweetened this year and store it to be used for its pectin for later use in making other jams and jellies where pectin needs to be added.

Crab Apple Juice Recipe

  • Fresh crab apples (about 1.5 gallons including stems)


  • Knife
  • Large Pot
  • Large Bowl
  • Colander
  • Cheese cloth (we use a linen napkin)
  • Measuring Cup
  • Medium Pot
  • Canning Jars
  • Canning Lids and Rings
  • Jar Grabber
  • Magnetic Lid Lifter
  • Jar Funnel
  • Canner


  1. Thoroughly wash and stem crab apples picking out any bad ones. If you are using small ornamental crab apples simply stem the large bulky stems and leaves. Stems are extremely stubborn and we left about half of them that would not easily pull off.
  2. Chop cleaned crab apples. If you are using a larger variety you may need to quarter them rather than chop them.
Chopped Ornamental Crab Apples
Chopped Ornamental Crab Apples
  1. Place chopped crab apples in a large pot adding just enough water to be able to see in the crab apples. You do not want them to be floating in the water. Bring to a hard boil, reduce heat to medium, and let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes (Note: Pectin can also breakdown if boiled too long). You can start to smell the crab apples as they soften and change color.
  2. Strain the apples and juice through a colander into a large bowl and discard the pulp. Then strain the juice a second time through a cheese cloth (we use a linen napkin). At this point the juice is a cloudy pink.
Strain Crab Apple Juice Through a Cheese Cloth
Strain Crab Apple Juice Through a Cheese Cloth
  1. Pour into small sterile jars leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. We used a mixture of pint and half-pint jars.
  2. Wipe the jar rims with a clean damp wash cloth and close with canning lids (presoaked in warm pot of water) and ring bands. Once all of your juice has been placed in jars, place them inside a prepared hot water bath canner using a canning jar grabber/lifter. The canner should be prepared and heated during the juice process. Bring water in canner to boil and process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes to seal. Note: The 5 minute processing time is for altitudes of 0-1000 feet. Add 1 minute of processing time for each 1000 feet of additional altitude.
  3. Remove jars from canner with jar grabber and gently place them on a towel. Space them a part enough that air can circulate between them allowing them to cool quicker. Now, set back and wait for the sweet sound of the jars sealing…pop, pop, pop.
Crab apple Juice for pectin
Crab apple Juice for pectin
We plan on adding the crab apple juice to jam and jellies next season when the peaches and berries are coming in rather than having to add store bought pectin like sure-jell. It will save a few dollars as well as make use of what we had on hand. We can’t wait to see what medley of flavors we come up with.

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