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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.