05 January 2015

Apple Juice… Without a Juicer?

That’s right, if you’re getting a cold weather craving for some delicious apple juice but don’t yet have a dedicated juicer, you’re in luck. Making apple juice in your own kitchen is not nearly as intimidating as it may seem. With a few basic supplies and a bit of patience, it’s relatively easy to churn out fresh, homemade apple juice unrivaled by anything you get at the store.

Choosing Apples
The apples you pick for your juice have a tremendous effect on the finished product. In fact, if you choose your apples carefully, there will be little or no need for added sweeteners due to the high levels of natural sugar in the fruit. When making apple juice, a variety of red apples such as Red Delicious and Fuji should be used to create complex flavors. Bruised or otherwise imperfect fruits can also be used for juice making, as their full flavor is intact.

If possible, fresh apples should be obtained from a local farmers’ market instead of a supermarket or other store for maximum flavor and freshness. Each bushel of apples yields about sixteen quarts of apple juice, so keep this ratio in mind when determining the amount of apples you will need for your juice making project.

Be sure to get an appropriate number of glass mason jars to store your juice in.

When you have decided on a suitable blend of apples for your juice, it’s time to start the process. Begin by thoroughly washing out the jars in hot, soapy water, then boil the jars for ten minutes to completely sanitize them. Keep the jars and lids submerged in the hot water until it’s time to use them to prevent them from breaking when you fill them with the heated apple juice.

Next, wash the apples in plain cold water and remove the cores with a corer or paring knife. Transfer the apples to a large, thick-bottomed pot filled with four inches of boiling water and put the lid on the pot to steam them. When the apples have softened, place them into a colander lined with layers of cheesecloth and allow the juice to drip into a large pot for an hour or until the apples are dry.

Juice Making
When the pot is full, add cinnamon to taste and bring the mixture to a low, simmering boil. Transfer the juice to quart-size canning jars, screw on the lid and tighten the ring around the jar. Place the jars in a water bath submerged in two inches of water for five minutes then remove them from the water with a pair of canning tongs, loosen the rings slightly, and leave them to cool slowly in a draft-free area overnight.

After the jars are cool, check them for a tight seal by pressing the center of the lid down. If it stays down, the jar is sealed and ready for storage. If the center makes a popping sound and pops back up, there is no seal and the jar should be placed in the refrigerator right away to prevent spoilage.

Homemade apple juice is both superior to store bought juice and simple to make in your own kitchen. This apple juice will stay fresh in the jar with no special attention for up to two years, so one batch will allow you to enjoy delicious apple juice all winter and beyond.

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