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Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

How to Make Homemade Apple Juice

 apple juice title pg 

Turn a mountain of apples into fresh, delicious juice!  

Autumn means apples!  When you've made enough pies and jelly, think apple juice! No fancy juice extractor? This step-by-step method is for you! You can be sipping unfiltered, unsweetened apple juice with a minimal amount of time and effort! Here is what to do:

our apple 

 Step One: Collect apples

If you grow your own-- your in luck. Even crab apples will make a tasty drink. But if you don't, get some at your local farmer's market-- or better yet-- forage in your neighborhood like we did! We only had a few apples off of our own tree so we toured our town and asked homeowners for their unwanted fruit.  Store apples in a cool dark place until ready to use.

 Step Two: Scrub Them Up

Wash apples thoroughly and pick through to ensure any bad ones are discarded.

apple cutter 

 Step Three: Cut

There is no need to peel or core the apples-- there is a ton of flavor and juice that can be extracted and besides, they will be removed later. Discard any blemished or bruised parts of the apple. Cut apples either in half or using an apple cutter (as in the picture above). This step helps to break the apples down faster while the cook.

apples in pot 

Step Four: Cook

Place all the apples into a large stock pot or kettle and add about 2 inches of water. Cover the kettle and simmer on medium high until the apples break down and become soft. We learned that a slower simmer helps to draw out the juices more effectively. Every so often take off the lid and squish with a potato masher to help the apples along.

 apple mash 

Step Five: Strain

Working in batches, pour apple mash into a sieve set up over a large bowl. Using a jelly fish spatula work the mash back and forth in the sieve to get as much juice through as possible. Alternatively you can use a food mill to do the job. You will obtain three separate end products: apple juice, mash and peels. Do not toss away the mash or peels! The mash can be spiced and turned into apple sauce and the peels can be used to make apple jelly.

Step Six: Filter

When all of your juice is collected you can filter it to produce a clearer liquid. There are several ways to filter juice, but you can easily do this by setting up a fine mesh colander with a few coffee filters set inside. You can filter your juice as many times as you would like. We prefer more "pulpy" unfiltered juice so we skipped this step.

Step Seven: Adjust Sweetness

Transfer juice to a clean pot and simmer on low. Now is the time to taste your juice. How is the sweetness? If too tart, add sugar to taste and whisk until dissolved. Otherwise leave it unsweetened as we did.

apple juice in jars 

 Step Eight: Preserve it

There are two tried and true methods for preserving your homemade juice: freezing or canning. If freezing, simply allow liquid to cool and store in air tight containers.  Use within 3-6 months for best flavor. To can, as we have done here, pour warm apple juice into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/2 inch head space and process in a hot water canner for 30 minutes.

apple juice in mason 


You can't beat the taste of fresh, homemade juice! Nothing compares! 


All photos: Liesl and Myles Petersen 

Liesl and Myles are from Alberta, Canada. You can also find them on Nest. 





5/19/2016 9:30:35 PM

I thought Mother Earth News was supposed to be more natural. You never want to cook fruits or vegetables, especially for the juice, so they stay live foods. The more raw the better. As far as taste, try fresh pressed cider next to a cooked version and see the difference. So, it may be easy and may even taste good, but it's not as good for you as the raw version. I was looking for a good way to press them, rather than buying an electric juicer.

10/16/2014 4:21:55 PM

This worked great! I mashed them as they got softer, until only the peels were the biggest chunks. And I put a little spices in as they cooked. I would do med-low heat, at least for me, because they kept bubbling rapidly. Once completely soft, placed it in a food mill (saved the pulp). Once it was like applesauce, I put muslin over a bowl, scooped the apple-mash in batches, and squeezed/wrung the juice out until there was only a couple TBSP apple "puree" left (like pumpkin puree). It takes some time this way, but soo worth it! Everyone loves it. Haven't found a way to use the "puree" and peels yet, though...

12/24/2013 12:45:53 PM

Your all 8 steps are up to the marks, I think is best for everyone.

anabell jones
11/25/2013 4:24:54 PM

I failed miserably

8/26/2013 9:32:41 AM

Thanks a nice and easy to do apple juice. now parents have their cider ands have their apple juice sorted.

6/3/2013 12:04:55 PM

In stead of sugar I use raw honey if the juice needs sweetening.

timothy danielson
3/17/2013 7:29:59 PM

Take and press the 'mash' into a cheescloth in the strainer. Or better yet line it with muslin so that you can wrap it and wring it. Also the type of apple you have will vary on how readily it will release it's juices.

barbara pleasant
11/27/2012 1:11:54 PM

Shannon, I use this cooked method for getting juice from cores and castoff chunks, but I think it's easier to freeze pared apples, then squeeze the juice from them when they thaw. A gallon freezer bag of frozen/thawed pared apples will yield about 3 cups of delicious raw juice when squeezed hard through a sturdy cloth bag.

shannon cline
11/25/2012 8:39:44 PM

That so did not work for me. I've got little to no juice and a ton of "mash".

lynndzee blanton
10/14/2012 12:39:38 PM

can i use a pot? i dont have a potato masher can i use something else? what tempurature so i put it on? how long?

sonja miller
8/10/2012 9:48:05 PM

ha This is so Cool...We have a project starting tonight ;) thanks so much

alexis drob
10/26/2011 5:51:00 PM

Now show me how to make "apple Butter" and I will be even happier!!! :)

susan clark
10/26/2011 4:47:25 PM

I didn't know it was sooo easy! Now do you have recipes for the apple jelly and apple sauce?

kathy grill
10/26/2011 4:36:57 PM

Yayyy...someone from Alberta with such wonderful descriptions on how to make apple juice!! Thank you so much!!