Thursday, October 14, 2010

Made apple juice (and applesauce as a byproduct) instead of working this morning.

Work has been pretty slow, and we've been called off in the mornings, when I usually work, to defer our time till later in the afternoon when more rolls in from the western half of the country, and that happened today. So I spent my morning baking bread and also making apple juice with my new steam juicer. (The link is informational; I got mine for quite a bit less money on eBay.)
I still have quite a few tart green apples from the neighbor's tree, and they're great for pies and crisps but not so great for juice, which is supposed to be sweet, so I picked up a couple of pecks of Jonathan apples from Leidel's Apple Stand in La Crescent, and another half bushel from a vendor at the farmer's market there, a pretty red apple with a lovely crunch, called a Scarlett O'Hara. I'm not sure Barry will let me juice those, however; he really likes them as eating apples. I also bought a half bushel of delicious little green pears that aren't all ripe yet, but the ones we have been able to eat have been wonderful.

So anyway, I was turned on to steam juicing by Judy Laquidara. She has many, many good ideas and inspires me. She has a large, stainless steel steam juicer, but I wasn't ready to spend that kind of money since I had never used one before. But I figured this one would be worth its while very quickly considering how many apples there are around here. A steam juicer is sort of like a giant percolator, only it's steam that percolates through the top, not hot water. It has several chambers stacked vertically, starting with water in the bottom, to produce the steam, then a juice collecting chamber, and on the top, a colander for fruit. You put your fruit in the colander part (apples get cut in halves or fourths, but that's all you do, no peeling or coring), put it on the stove and let the water produce steam for awhile. The fruit will cook in the top and release its juice, which drips through the colander into the juice collection chamber, and from there, you can pour it off using a rubber tube. It comes out scalding hot, so you can pour it directly into sterilized bottles or jars and seal it. If you are very gentle with the fruit and don't stir it at all, the juice will be clear, but I like my apple juice to have some fruit in it, so I stirred the fruit around to let some of the solids mix into the juice.

With apples, after you get out all the juice you're gonna get, you are still left with a lot of apple pulp. If you run that through a chinois, then you have applesauce. Sort of a byproduct of juicing. :o) I like applesauce, but I don't love it, and the kids think it's either baby food or something you eat when you're getting over the flu, so it is not a very popular item around here. I'm hoping, since I have so much of it now, to get in the habit of using it in baking. I hear you can substitute apple sauce for oils in baking pretty much one for one and still have moist baked goods without the added fat.

The juice is wonderful, by the way.


Mrs. Mac said...

I want to see a picture if it's not too late :) sounds interesting :)

Carol Reese said...

You could turn some of the applesauce into apple butter and put that up in the 1/2 cup quilted crystal canning jars for Christmas gifts for teachers and friends. Tin punch a star or quilt block design or whatever into an extra plain jar lid to turn the jar into a potpourri jar when the apple butter is gone. (Ask me, and I'll give you more specific instructions on that. Hitting nails with hammers to do the tin punch is a great stress reliever.)