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  • Crabapple and apricot brandy, 90 days and relief at last

    This post follows “Brandy swamp juice at day 60.”  To see that post, click here.

    Brandy in glass 007Wow, wow, and wow!  For the last 90 days, I have had two gallon jars of cheap vodka (the cheapest I could find) fermenting with fruit that was falling from the trees.  I have endured ridicule, taunting, threats of jail time if I poisoned anyone, and skepticism that the new “hobby” would be a disaster.  Now, the verdict is in.  I have had a chance to taste the wicked brew and, oh boy,  was I surprised!   Look who’s laughing now!

    First, let me go back a little bit for those of you hitting this blog out of order from the first two.  I had two full trees full of fruit that were going to waste.  I had fed the family all the fruit products I could concoct, and needed another fresh usage.  I went online to get suggestions and found apricot leather (too much work with the risk of my kids hating it), cookies (didn’t use a tree full of fruit) and then I saw a homemade brandy site.  Hmph, I thought, I’m not much of a brandy drinker, but the labor looked easy – pick fruit, add sugar and cheap vodka, put in gallon jars and turn once a day for three months.  I could handle that – and the shelf-life was very good. 

    Ten dollar half-gallon jars of vodka are not something to brag about.  The stuff is nasty.  I tasted a drop or two out of the jug and figured I was wasting my time, as nothing in my imagination could cut the harsh biting taste.  Regardless of my doubts, I vowed to continue the experiment, mainly because the web writer so convincingly said it would work.  After 30 days, the brew began to ferment and that looked even LESS appealing.  I plotted to feed it to the hubby and his football buddies because, after all, they’ll consume anything.  Little did I know, hubby was bracing for a strong defense as he was convinced the stuff was too vile even for football buddies.  Besides, he feared that serving brandy to beer-drinking football buddies could taint his reputation as a rough-n-tumble guy.

    By day 60, the look had exceeded unappetizing and was well on the way to being classified as pollution.   The apricots had begun to disintegrate and the crabapples were not showing any sign of fermenting at all.  My husband got all huffy and began taking offensive measures to protect his buddies from death-by-brandy.  I remained weakly hopeful, though the project did not look promising.  He reminded me that this concoction looked a lot like the juice from a bag of lettuce that has been left in the refrigerator crisper drawer a month too long.

    Adding to my discomfort, I had chosen to set the gallon jars where the family makes their breakfast toast, thereby assuring that the brandy would be turned daily.  This subjected me to near daily ridicule about taking up hobbies that are scary and deadly and why couldn’t I be like all the other wives and have a candle hobby, or buy myself a pet bird.  For 90 days, I suffered this daily taunting.  To my dismay, the football buddies all formed a contingent and were bringing their OWN drinks in tamper-proof containers.  Helmets, too,if necessary.

    Animal Control cartoon 010By 90 days, the two jars full of brackish liquid were ready.  I had purchased a BRITA filter, but had not considered the straining process beforehand.  One must pre-soak the filter, but no site that I ran across said whether to soak it in water, or vodka.  I follwed the BRITA instructions and used water.  Then worried that I would further ruin 90 days of agony by watering down the brew.

    What I discovered the hard way is that, at least with the apricot mixture, one must strain it with a generously-holed strainer first, then with cheesecloth next.  The photo at right shows what you should not put in the BRITA! This would be obvious to anyone who has ever used a water filter before.  It was NOT obvious to me.  (There went one filter.) Filling it up with the raw glop only clogged the filter, stopping it almost immediately.  So, for those new to this process, strain the fruit mixture a couple times through cheese cloth before putting it into the filter.  Then, leave it overnight in the refrigerator.  The next day, you will have beautiful brandy.

    The crabapple brandy was a very different creature.  The fruit had not dissolved like the fragile apricots, so the liquid in the jar remained clear and clean for the entire 90 days.  I was more concerned that it might not have taken the flavor, or completed the process enough to produce a good flavor.  Straining it was not necessary, and filtering it was not necessary, either.

    The results?  The apricot was very good, but pretty sweet.  This was not like any brandy I’ve ever bought at the store, those being harsher with a strong alcohol taste to them.  This was very smooth, and I say this regretably but honestly – I think it would be amazing over pancakes.  It’s not undrinkable, but would make a good dessert drink.

    Now, the crabapple was a different story.  The color is a light yellowish-amber.  It blew me away.  Very smooth flavor, not as sweet, but this one left my husband’s jaw on the floor.  He could not believe we got that product out of some worm-riddled crabapples.  (I did remove the worms before making the batch, for those wondering.) The crabapple brandy left us both speechless.  Next time we have a crabapple crop, I will definitely be cleaning off the tree and using this for gifts for friends.  It surpassed expectations by a landslide!

    From there, it was a mad dash to protect the goods as one cannot afford to allow football buddies to consume exquisite products.  It’s cheap beer and brats for you guys!  I’ll take the “obnoxious, vile, liquid and dispose of it properly…up on the balcony with a girlfriend or two.

    If you would like to see all the brandy posts, or more comical posts, click here for the index.

    Explore posts in the same categories: Stuff to do when you're over 40, brandy

    18 Comments on “Crabapple and apricot brandy, 90 days and relief at last”

    1. jrobben Says:

      Hi, I have tried that several times and it works great. I have also used brandy as a base to end up with more of a fruit liquor. Gives a thicker and richer base.

      Thanks for your nice comment on my new site. I posted a reply there about the plugin I use for the sliding featured post.

    2. Dani Says:

      Thank you for both the advice on the brandy and for the plug-in! I’m jealous of you eating all that salmon – it’s a special treat here. :) I’ll get your link posted on my blog so others reading this can enjoy their brandy with some salmon! lol

    3. lifeshighway Says:

      I have had to the pleasure of sipping homemade peach brandy and it was wonderful. The crab apple brandy sounds intriguing. Wish I was on your Christmas list!

    4. allynburns Says:

      I am ready to try some. Could have used some at the football game the other night.

    5. Dani Says:

      Come ahead, Miss Kitty! I’m anxious for you to try it! I know you’ll give me a brutally honest appraisal! :)

    6. Sorcerer Says:



    7. Dani Says:

      Great to see you Sourcerer! Didn’t know you were such a brandy fan! Glad to hear it. Thanks for the, um, comment. :)

    8. allynburns Says:

      I’m still waiting for my taste of brandy!

    9. Dani Says:

      Not anymore. In case Kitty doesn’t get back to this site – she came, she tried it – she admitted shock at how good it was! We exceeded by previous 10 year consumption of brandy (1 jigger full) by double. It is really, really smooth – and we tried it next to store-bought blackberry-flavored brandy – Ugh! Nasty stuff. Kitty and I agreed, one must be careful with this stuff because it is good, and sweet, and smooth – and you’ll get yourself in deep trouble this way.

    10. Dani Says:

      I think peach brandy would be wonderful, too. Probably could use a little less sugar. The apricot was very sweet – almost too sweet.

      As for the Christmas list, go fill a gallon jar – and in 3 months, you’ll have a very nice gift for yourself and your good friends. From what I’ve read, you can even use frozen fruit. The possibilities are endless.

    11. Seattle DUI Attorney Says:

      That sounds like a wonderful drink. You should also post that recipe and story on a sustainability blog somewhere. I know a few people with crab-apple trees that let the fruit go to waste.

    12. Dani Says:

      Hi Seattle. The irony of a DUI attorney commenting that this sounds like a “wonderful drink” is not lost on me. :)

      Job security? My two cents on this is to make it at home – drink it at home. Don’t support the DUI attorneys. (No offense, Seattle! lol) D.

    13. Kim Says:

      How long can you let the apricot brandy ferment? I have a batch that has been fermenting for a year. It got forgotten and pushed to the back of the shelf. I had plastic wrap around the lid to prevent seepage. Do you think it will still be any good?

    14. Dani Says:

      Hi Kim. From what I read, the length of time is not a problem. The brandy only gains flavor for about three months. After that, the fruit has been leeched of all flavor, so it supposedly will not get stronger. The alcohol content keeps it from going “bad.” I would definitely strain it, though. I liked the Brita filter once I figured out how to use it. The color and consistency of the brandy was simply gorgeous. Incidentally, since I posted this, I have heard of several people who have used canned fruit. I found that intriguing. For me, I had enough fruit going to waste on the trees that I would not have dipped into canned fruit, but it would allow different flavors of brandy from fruit one cannot grow locally. Just a thought…. Good luck, Kim. Let me know how it turned out! D.

    15. Robyn Says:

      Love your posts! Just wondering how you prepared the crabapples? Did you core them or just cut them in half? or nothing at all?
      Looking forward to doing this but not too sure what to do with the apples and the recipe doesn’t say…

    16. Dani Says:

      Hi Robyn. Thanks for enjoying the posts. I prepared the crabapples with an Italian friend – which I highly recommend. I made him do the picking, then I cut the apples in half, cutting away any disgusting wormy parts, which I later threatened to throw at the Italian friend. Of course, he heckled me mercilessly throughout the process, making the whole job much more difficult, but we then put the crabapple halves into a gallon crock and poured the sugar atop them, then the vodka. I think it merits mentioning that whether or not you remove all the wormy parts of the apples is a personal decision. Some people are not bothered by that sort of thing. All the people I am related to ARE bothered by that sort of thing, hence I had to go to the extra labor of cutting away those parts. In complete seriousness, the process is embarrassingly easy, and was definitely worth the trouble of turning the batch daily for 3 months. My worst problem was getting the gallon jar not to leak when I had to tip it upside down. Good luck, and if you have more questions, just let me know!

    17. Gotta try this Says:

      I have a very well producing crab apple tree. How much sugar did you use per gallon of vodka and how much of the crab apple halves? I am thinking of doing this for gifts this winter. I am sure I can pick a 5 gallon bucket or two of our little apples.

    18. Dani Says:

      I filled the gallon container with the crabapples, then poured three cups of sugar atop the apples, then filled the rest of the container with the cheap vodka. In my opinion, you could reduce the amount of sugar, based on personal taste. It had a very nice flavor, but in the future, I would use 2 or 2.5 cups of sugar instead. Hope that helps. Happy brandy making!