Delicious Apple Juice
Another Glebe House First
This autumn was such a bumper year for apples on our trees. The cooking apples were huge and abundant (though they often are) so the difference was the quantity of crisp red eating apples!
The apple trees are all very old so I'm afraid I don't know the variety - if any visitor or guest is an expert please do let me know.
What to do with such abundance?
Of course I made plenty of compotes, tarts and pies as well as my daily apple and pecan pastries, but our "first" this season was to convert the eating apples into fresh apple juice for guests.
As a total novice, as usual, I did a bit of research and then a trial. The juicer I have is not large nor very expensive; the strainer is the one I use for making jellies and the bottles - well they were kindly donated by Malcolm at Kingsmuir House in Peebles.
How it went!
I knew to stop oxidisation by putting the cut apples in salted water and I cut out the cores as a result of my trial. The juice was best left a long, long time to drain through the filter. I found it best just to keep adding to it and let it run through at its own pace emptying the jar when full for pasteurisation. Avoiding the temptation to squeeze made for a much lighter coloured juice with less sediment. I got a real process going to produce 6-8 bottles at a time and enlisted my son over Christmas to help.
Surprisingly there was still quite a lot of wastage through the juicer - it had to be cleared out after each bowl full of apples - but then that all went into the compost, so not really wasted.
Food hygiene is of course paramount so for guests I pasteurised the apple juice through heating it to 78 degrees C (a bit higher than advised to be safe) for 4-5 minutes and then putting it into the sterilised bottles and into the fridge once cool. At that temperature you could see a change in the juice.
For the family, I made some un-pasteurised and I must say I preferred the flavour - sharper and lighter - but then that's life.
Either way the flavour is really fabulous and much better than I had expected. There's a little sediment on the top or bottom of the jars but I'm delighted with the taste and look of my home made juice. Guests who've tasted it certainly loved it.
What's the betting that there won't be many apples next year so we're enjoying this whilst we can.
Going to warm the contents of a bottle now with some cinnamon and all spice for a comforting drink as the cold snap arrives.