Apples in a Steam JuicerOctober 26th, 2007
I produce a fine tasting apple juice in my Mehu-Liisa steam extractor. It tastes more like cider, and is fairly thick and very rich in flavor. For drinking, I dilute it with an equal amount of water. It is also great to add when roasting pork, and can be added to baked goods for extra flavor and nutrition. It is bottled hot, and keeps indefinitely right on the shelf, like any other canned good.
You can use apples which have blemishes, and would not keep in the root cellar. From a half bushel of apples, about 30 pounds, we either make about 6 quarts of juice or 8 quarts of applesauce. The Steam juicer is also great for all kinds of berries and grapes. It is much less work, and takes much less cooking fuel, compared to canning fruit.
I took notes on a recent double batch I did, and I will share them here so you can see exactly what work is involved, and approximately when it needs to be done.
1:30 PM I brought the juicer to the kitchen, and rinsed it out. I put a half dozen clean quart jars in the oven to sterilize. DO NOT preheat the oven. Then went outside and picked a half bushel of apples and rinsed them with a garden hose. Back in the kitchen, I put water in the bottom kettle of the juicer, and started preheating it on the stove, and then quartered and cut out any bad spots of enough apples to fill the ten Liter fruit vessel.
2:00 PM The filled and assembled juicer is on the stove, heating up. Once the jars in the oven get to 260 degrees F. I time them for 20-30 minutes, and then turn down the oven to 200 degrees to hold them. The rest of the apples can be cut up later, in time for the second batch.
2:30 PM Steam starts to escape from under the cover. Now the burner can be turned down to maintain a steady wisp of steam, keeping most of it inside the juicer.
3:00 PM A pint of the first juice to collect, is poured back over the fruit in the top container. This only takes a minute. Boil six lids for the jars for one minute, and set aside in a small covered pan.
3:15 PM the first quart is bottled and sealed.
3:45 PM second quart is bottled and sealed.
4:00 PM There is not enough juice for the 3rd quart, so it is put in a jar in the warm oven. Empty the fruit vessel, and refill it with new apples, and top off the water in the bottom pan. This takes about ten minutes to do.
4:15 PM The juicer returns to boiling.
5:00 PM I draw off hot juice from the steamer, and pour it, and the partial quart I kept hot in the oven, over the apples. This only takes two minutes.
5:20 PM Two quarts are now ready to be bottled and sealed.
5:45 PM Another quart is ready.
6:00 PM Last or sixth quart is bottled, and a few ounces are left over. The pulp is emptied, and everything is rinsed outside with the hose.
The whole process takes about five hours, but most of the work is near the beginning. Actual working time isn't much more than an hour. You have to be nearby, keeping an eye on things. I am using a slow electric range, a gas, wood or kerosene stove would save some time. Other cooking or laundry could be done during the same time.
My Mehu-Liisa steam juicer came from Lehman's Hardware. Find them in our links section.