Real Food

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Make Your Own Fruit Juice From Berries

7/9/2008 1:32:14 PM

Tags: fresh fruit recipes, berry juice recipes, canning fruit concentrates, preserving homegrown fruit, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries

Drink to your health by harnessing the flavors and antioxidants in raspberries, blueberries, and other prolific summer fruits. 

Homemade Berry Juice 

Like most people, if you give me something sweet to drink, I will probably like it. I liked flavored "vitamin waters" until I read their labels, and with years of soft drink slurping behind me, I have some making up to do. Enter dazzlingly delicious (and awesomely nutritious) drinks made from the juices of raspberries, blueberries, and even rosehips. If you can boil water, you can make – and preserve – wildly wonderful fruit concentrates to enjoy year round.

Any canning book will tell you how to turn potent little berries into jam, but most have nothing to say about canning raspberry, blueberry or blackberry juice. You can find instructions for canning berry syrup or grape juice, but information is slim on making juice from berries. Go figure! Slightly sweetened berry juice over ice with a sprig of mint is exactly what your body wants on a hot day. Try it once, and you'll see.

I'm several batches into berry juice-making now, and it's amazingly easy.

1.  Thoroughly rinse berries, and place them in a heavy pot with just enough water to make them bob. Bring to a slow boil, mash with a potato masher or spoon, bring back to a boil, and remove from the heat. Cool slightly.

2.  Pour the mashed berries into a jelly bag or a colander lined with several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Collect the juice in a bowl, and pour it into clean jars as it accumulates.  Be careful, because berry juice stains. When the bag or cloth is cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the juice and some of the pulp. Compost what's left.

3.  Sweeten to taste with sugar, honey, or other fruit juices (such as pineapple). Under-sweeten, because you can always add more sugar later, but you can't restore lost tartness. At this point you have a concentrate, which can be diluted with 3 to 4 parts water for casual quaffing. Don't dilute it if you want to freeze or can it. Whether frozen or canned, you juice's future might include transformation into home brewed soda, wine, or a warming batch of berry cordials.

4.  Freeze your concentrate in ice cube trays or small freezer containers. Or, seal it up in half-pint jars processed in a waterbath canner for 10 minutes. Most berries are naturally acidic, but when canning concentrates from softer fruits like plums, I add a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice per cup, just to be safe.


Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on .

Photo by Barbara Pleasant



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Post a comment below.

 

NanK52
6/29/2013 11:28:49 AM

I used this method to prepare some sour cherry juice. I'm not much of a dessert eater, and the prospect of pitting all those little cherries to produce a pie or cobbler just seemed like too much work. I probably used more water than I should have, and may have cooked longer than necessary also. It tastes good though, and hopefully I didn't kill most of the beneficial nutrients. If anyone else has pointers on sour cherry juice specifically, I would welcome them.


Peggie Bledsoe
6/25/2012 6:51:40 PM
Another great way to save the summer berries is to make a fruit vinegar. Just replace the water with cider vinegar - best choice of vinegars. Add sweetener to taste and serve over ice with a 1 to 1 mix of vinegar and water. Works great with herbs like basil and mint. I store the vinegars in the fridge so they're always frosty cold. Also make great salad dressings.

bonnie_19
9/1/2009 7:20:12 PM
I mixed blueberries, rasberries, and strawberries to make juice and i added pineapple and some simple syrup. i water bathed them for 10 mins. my question is: when i opened one of these jars, does it need to be refrigerated or can it be put on shelf till needed again? How long is the shelf life before and after opening? Thank you

kay albert
4/24/2009 2:49:48 PM
Thanks or the info on making blueberry juice. We have anout 1/2 acre of blueberries but didn't know how to make anything other then pies and cobbler. Can i use frozen berries to make juice if i thaw them out?

Jay Johnson
11/20/2008 11:28:54 AM
I have a fruit and vegetable strainer. When I make tomato juice, I strain the tomatoes, and bring the juice to a simmer before pressure canning. Do you think I can use this same method for blackebrry juice only water bath for 10 minutes?

Jay Johnson
11/20/2008 11:28:28 AM
I have a fruit and vegetable strainer. When I make tomato juice, I strain the tomatoes, and bring the juice to a simmer before pressure canning. Do you think I can use this same method for blackebrry juice only water bath for 10 minutes?

Nancy_1
7/19/2008 7:01:59 PM
Yes, heating does affect some vitamins and antioxidents. But to release the juice the berries are just barely heated for a short amount of time. The heat affects the cell walls and allows more juice to be released. Then when processing vitamins and antioxidants are also affected. So durning each process a small amount is lost. Just as when picking and holding which is why it is best to pick and process as soon as possible. Over all home canned fruits and veggies have more nutrients and antioxidents than any store bought including anything you can get from a heath food store.

Steve Thyng
7/18/2008 9:57:38 PM
Rinse a cup of berries, mixed or all the same. Put in a Vita-Mix blender with 1 cup of distilled water. Add some honey if you desire sweetener. Put in a couple leaves of mint or herb, or a swiss chard leaf, collard leaf, etc. Blend until done - about 2 minutes. Drink it pulp and all. Feel good. Rinse and freeze berries in ice cube size sections, and make the same drinks in the middle of winter.

Jen_2
7/18/2008 9:46:11 AM
This is an interesting idea, but I'm wondering if vitamins or antioxidants would destroyed by heating the berries? Jen http://www.healthybodyhealthyfamily.org

Joy Shepard_1
7/12/2008 6:46:02 PM
Thank you for this recipe. I was wondering about canning blackberry juice and you have solved this for me. Thanks for the tip.










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