Apple juice. It’s a staple in many households and a favorite amongst children. If you’re one of the millions of people who drink apple juice, you may be interested in learning how to make your own so that you can have fresh apple juice with the highest nutritional value. Often store bought apple juice has preservatives and plenty of sugar. But when you make your own, you know exactly what the ingredients are and where they came from. Here’s how to do it.
1. Choose Your Apples
There are so many different varieties of apples that you may have a hard time choosing. But the good news is that you don’t have to choose. You can make apple juice out of any one type or combination of types of apples. It’s up to you whether you want to use conventionally grown, locally picked or organically grown. It takes about four pounds of apples to make one quart of apple juice.
2. Wash Your Apples
Wash your apples thoroughly with cold water and cut away any bruises or blemishes and the seeds. One of the most effective ways to clean apples is to soak them in water with a heaping portion of baking soda for 15 minutes. You can peel them if you like, but there is a lot of nutrition in the skin. Cut each apple into quarters and put them into a large pot. Using the skin doesn’t mean that you’ll have apple skins in your final product.
3. Cook Your Apples
Now that your apples are in a large pot, it’s time to add enough water to keep the apples from sticking to the pot, and bring it all to a simmer. Remember to stir your apples often. And in about an hour or so you should have soft and pulpy fork-tender apples. Depending on the type of apples and the cooking temperature, you may need more or less than an hour.
4. Drain and Strain Your Apples
Once the cooking is finished, line a mesh strainer or colander with cheesecloth or unbleached muslin and place it on top of another pot. Pour your apples into the strainer and press on the apples to release the pulp. You can also mash the apples in a food mill or food processor before pouring it into the strainer. Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator to drain.
5. Can and Store
If you’re going to use the juice in the next couple of days or so, just pour it into a clean bottle or juice carafe. Otherwise, reheat your apple juice before pouring it into sanitized quart canning jars and process them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Water bath canning will ensure that your apple juice isn’t harboring any harmful microorganisms and won’t spoil before you get a chance to drink it.
Everything is tastier when it’s fresh and homemade with love, and apple juice is no exception. If you’re interested in small batches of apple juice, you may want to consider getting a juicer. And whichever method you choose, recycle your pulp into apple jelly, apple butter, applesauce or compost it.