My first attempt at making apple wine was a total failure. The 5-gallon crock had a minute fracture in the glaze on the inside. As the yeast and fruit bubbled away liquid worked into the fracture seeping into the stoneware. From there the liquid found another a fracture or maybe a weak spot in the outer glaze and began leaking out. The fruit flies were happy but I was not. What a mess. So, it will have to be next year before I try this again but with a new crock and one I’ll be checking very carefully before adding any fruit.
Still, I got a very good supply of applesauce and frozen and dried apple slices from my few trees. There is enough to last until next summer. And I have three quarts of Centennial crab apples soaking in brandy fortified with Everclear (yes, I know its reputation). I added the higher proof to the brandy because the water content of the crab apples would lower the alcohol content of the brandy to levels that might be hospitable to microbes. Starting with a higher proof will ensure that the solution’s alcohol content stays at microbe inhibiting levels. The crab apples were first washed and rinsed in clean water. Next, they were cored and quartered. I filled quart jars with crab apples and covered them with the brandy-Everclear solution (2 quarts brandy to one quart Everclear), capped and put them in a dark place. Once a day the jars are gently shaken. The apples will steep in this solution for two months (just 15 days to go). After that they will be strained from the solution. I’ll save the brandy infused apples for some special baking recipes. The solution will be left to age another two months just in time for New Year’s eve.