Crab Apples Fermented on the Tree

I once dated a guy who liked to climb up on his high horse and announce, I don't need drugs or alcohol to alter my mind.  Now, this is a blog, so I'm not sure you could properly hear the tone of that statement.  The claim was always accompanied by the tone.  You know it, the tone of moral superiority.

Why is it that the sanctimonious schmucks are always the first people you'd like to give a frosty tallboy? I'm pretty sure that's one of those laws of nature.

Speaking of nature, do you remember a few months ago when the drunken moose got stuck in a tree?  That critter was proof positive that even animals, when given the chance, will indulge in the fruits of ferments.  And let's face it, humans, throughout history, have tried to turn just about anything they could get their hands on into hooch.

All this is not to say that I'm not aware of the ills of alcohol.  I'm only one degree of Kevin Bacon away from that reality.  But relaxing with a nice drink in good company can bring some of the finer moments in life.  I've had quite a few of those moments in the last year, after having fallen in with a circle of food-lovers.  From great wine pairings in restaurants, to special-occasion bottles, to the creations of the cocktail genius at the 365 Kitchen, I've had many occasions to raise a glass in celebration of sweet life.

Last week, I struck out foraging with the aforementioned Cocktail Queen of the 365 Kitchen (seriously, the girl has mad mixology skillz).  Being January, there wasn't much to be found.  As we walked along, we came across a few crab apple trees.  Even in the dead of winter, I couldn't resist plucking fruit from trees to taste.  Most were bland and mealy after months of exposure to the wind, snow, and cold temps.

When we examined a tree down by the river, I was a little surprised when I squeezed one it's apples between my fingers and saw tiny bubbles surface.  But I knew what those bubbles meant.  The fruit had fermented on the tree, transforming it into the zingy supercharged version of crab apples.  Like the drunken moose before me, I knew better than to let a good thing go to waste.

I used part of the harvest to make a crab apple folk wine.  That has been set that aside to mature for a few months, and I will report back if it turns out to be delicious.  For more immediate drinking pleasure, I did my best to emulate my cocktail guru with this little creation.

Crab Apple Gin Sparkler

3 parts fermented crab apple juice
1 part gin
2 parts sparkling water

Blend well.  Serve over ice.  Enjoy with friends, or while watching a skybluepink winter sunset.


This post is a part of the Wild Things Round Up.  Wild Things is a foraging recipe challenge, and you are invited to participate!  January is wild food + alcohol month.  Do you have a favorite recipe?  Send it along to

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