How to make your own apple juice
Homemade juice is just the best. I pasteurize the juice to make it last longer, it works really well! This is how I make my apple juice at home.
I decided to make my own apple juice with my kids this weekend! This was our first time using our new fruit press, with the fruit crusher that came along with it. It's perhaps not the easiest thing to do with four young children. We look forward to getting a little help at another time when my husband Philip is at home. The juice turned out great though! We have so many bottles of delicious pasteurized apple juice at home now.
Using a fruit press
I have made juice like this at home before, by using a regular juicer. It works really well too, I recommend it to anyone who wants to give homemade juice a try.
But we decided that we wanted an actual fruit press and fruit crusher so that we can make larger quantities of juice. I hope that we will be able to take fruit from friends later too, but we haven't gotten that far yet. We will need even larger and partly automated equipment for that though.
We used two large baskets filled with apples and got 5 gallons (around 20 liters) of juice. Unfortunately, we had some late frost here in May, so we didn't manage to grow any apples of our own. But we got some from our friends to try the new press.
How to make your own apple juice:
- rinse the apples in a large tub
- remove any ugly or bruised areas
- cut into wedges
- crush the fruits twice
- start the press
- pour into appropriate containers and let it cool for a day or so
Fresh apple juice contains a lot of pulp which will sink to the bottom of the bottle. I think that the pulp actually makes the juice taste even better. The juice we make in the press is a lot more cloudy than what we usually get from the juicer. My guess is that the texture depends on how finely crushed the apples are. Both work great though. The more thorough the fruit crusher, the more juice you get.
Pasteurize your apple juice
I usually freeze my apple juice, simply because it's so convenient. Just pour the juice into a few jars or bottles and pop them in the freezer. We don't have very much space left in our freezers right now though. So, I decided to pour the juice into little bottles my kids can bring with them when we go on a day trip together.
But before you freeze your juice, you need to pasteurize it. There are a few different ways you can do this.
Let the juice simmer
Heating the juice is one way to pasteurize it. I just pour the juice into the largest pot I have (but carefully so the dregs in the bottom don't go with it.) After that, I heat the juice to 167 degrees (75 degrees Celsius) and let it simmer for around 15 minutes. I keep track of the temperature by using a long thermometer.
I also put the jars (with lids) in the oven to sterilize them. Turn the oven to around 210 degrees (100 degrees Celsius) and leave them in there for around 30 minutes.
Pour the hot juice into the jars and put the lids on. After that, I simply put the jars on a tray and wrap a blanket around them, in order for them to cool down slowly. Store the jars somewhere cold or at regular room temperature after they cool off.
You can pasteurize your juice on the stove in a regular, large pot. This takes quite a long time though. I'm going to get my own home pasteurizer when we get plenty of homegrown apples in the garden though.
Pasteurized apple juice is safe to drink for at least a year, often even longer than that. I have for example tried 1.5 year old bottles and they have been great.
I made this first batch mainly for my kids, so they have something to bring with them to their school trips. I know from experience that the kids can start bickering about who had the most juice etc, so I decided to divide the bottles between them from the very beginning. Now, everyone has ten bottles each marked with the first letter of their names. We as parents get to decide what we want to do with the rest of them!
If you haven't tried it already, I think it's time to get some apples and make a large batch of homemade juice. It's not as hard as it seems and you can start small if that makes you feel more comfortable. Why not try 4 pounds (around 2 kilos) to begin with? Or, if you don't have apples, you could always try pears. It might be even better actually! Everybody just loves this juice, and it's so much fun to make it yourself. Good luck!