Another country skill set

My brother came to visit last weekend. We used the guise of harvesting my crab apples to get to see each other. Last year he bought an apple press, and made the sweetest apple juice ever. It was wonderful, but could have used something to balance the sweetness. This is where my crab apple tree comes in.

My brother is a man of few words, so we’re going to have to tell this story mostly with pictures.

Start with the pretty red fruit he took to Nevada. It’s ready today, but many apples won’t be available until later this Fall. He plans on freezing the juice and holding it for later.

It may not seem like much, but if you filled these same buckets with full sized apples, you wouldn’t have as much fruit. The smaller size of these lets each bucket hold more, and the giveaway is the weight. Bigger fruit has more air between the apples.



This is his apple juicer. He bought it last year and it looks to be a quality craftsman’s product. It has much more soul than some stainless steel, motor driven product. The fruit goes into a hopper at the top of the red piece.


Here is a better view of the hopper. Load her up, turn the wheel, and make apple juice. I’m sure you could use it to juice anything you wanted, but it might flavor the equipment. This one is just for apples. (I could probably make some good catfish bait with this. A few crawdads, some crickets, just saying.)

Juice comes out the bottom and drains into a bucket.

I am surprised that the juice is red. It’s actually pretty cool that it is. It will give a charming color to any juice he adds this fall. Just imagine the awesome jelly I could make with pure undiluted juice.

He told me the flavor is tart, but very complex. That is the whole point of using it. The juice from last year was like honey. I’d really like to try a bottle of hard cider after he gets his Fall apples juiced. This juice is destined for the freezer for now.

He reported the recovery is about 10%. That isn’t horrible, but I was hoping for about 20%. The residue will go on his compost pile.

I have hunch the compost won’t stay there very long. He said a herd of mule deer invaded his yard the minute he started his apple mill. The scent must have drawn them in. They’re kind of cagey, but he managed this poor photo of a young buck as proof.

I hope the formatting works out in this post. There are more pictures than text.

My family has always been into preserving lost skills. Regular readers know about my sourdough starter, pickling crock, and canning jars. My brother even has a fully functional blacksmith’s shop.

What skills are you preserving? Do you make bent willow furniture, mud ovens, pottery? I think it’s important to save these skills for future generations.


Filed under Uncategorized

42 responses to “Another country skill set

  1. That is super nifty! When I am not blogging, I hand quilt, crochet, knit, decorate pisanki (the old Polish way), and make jewelry (with gold, silver, and gemstones). Not that I get around to them much these days…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Being used to yellow or clear apple juice, I’m surprised that it’s red. Does it get mixed with other fruit juices? I noticed years ago that apple and pear juice are popular bases for some reason. Maybe their taste is milder or counters stronger ones?

    Can’t say I preserve any old skills. Just a storyteller.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for sharing. That apple juicer looks so cool! I had never heard of crab apples before I came across them on your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ali Isaac

    We get crab apples over here. I remember being told as a child not to eat them as they’really sour and give you a sore stomach. Will you mix the juice with regular apple juice to make it more palatable? And how is it red? Carys and my son Cai both drink a lot of apple juice… maybe I should plant some trees and learn to make my own also…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved this post really interesting, I feel guilty I am not very productive in passing on skills . My husband does make bread by hand and I did teach all my boys to cook.
    The picture format is great I love it. Boy that juice looks good. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Very cool! Did your parents/other family members also use these type of skills? My family never did–they were urban folk–except my grandmother could sew very well and make clothing. She didn’t really teach my mom though, and I can’t sew at all. I bake bread, and I have made jam, but it’s not something I do regularly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Very cool! I haven’t done anything like that, but I just interviewed a wine maker for my most recent magazine article. She gave me a bottle of crabapple wine that I have been waiting for a get together with friends to try.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The combination of the two juices would probably make an awesome meade! My ex and I participated in medieval re-enactment for years. He did blacksmithing and brewing. I sewed and studied period cooking. I grew up on a farm in southern Illinois and we canned and pickled just about everything. I still like to can fresh peaches and my own salsa. It is messy, but the results are fantastic! I enjoy your posts so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great story. I used to have a ten acre farm in Indiana and we managed to raise 100% of everything we ate. We had a fruit press and used to put out the best juice. We did hard cider as well as some different blends. Was a fun time. Yes we had a milk cow and 1 cow milker. The Amish used to come from miles around to see it work. (this was a confession of a closet preserver)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well I don’t know that I’m preserving anything, but I find myself shouting at the children about how people have forgotten essential skills, so I suppose I am teaching those forgotten skills, although I can’t think what at the moment! It’s ironic, but I’ve not forgotten the forgotten skills, only misplaced them temporarily until someone angers me. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  11. That’s funny, that the deer started loitering around while he has juicing the crab apples!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I love this post! The cider looks yummy. Love the red color. Very cool.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. THAT’S. SO. COOL!!! Wow, I’d love to be at your brother’s house when he gets the other apples in to juice. Then I’ll head on up to your place for the next peach harvest and some sourdough bread. 🙂 My way-back skills are soapmaking, cooking from scratch, sewing, (well, I actually let my sister handle most of the sewing… I’m more into pattern making).

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s