An apple tree can be a fantastic addition to almost any garden and while they can grow perfectly well outside a polytunnel you may wish to consider growing a small tree to grow under cover. There are so many varieties out there and you can find a suitable apple tree for almost any location. Even if you only have a very small space, you can still plant a dwarf variety and after it reaches maturity, it will produce a very worthwhile amount of fruit. Making juice using apples from your garden is one way to use up a lot of the fruit.
Apple juice is delicious, so you will have a treat to enjoy at breakfast time, or whenever you fancy a glass of fruit juice throughout the day. In moderation, and especially if you do eat the apples straight from the tree (fibre included) too, apple juice can be a healthy part of your diet – far better for you than processed drinks from the supermarket. Juicing apples can help to eliminate waste and make sure that you make the most of your apple harvest.
What Do I Need to Juice Apples?
The good news is that you can make your own apple juice cheaply and relatively easily without having to buy any expensive equipment, especially if you only want to make a relatively small amount of juice. All you need is a knife to chop up your fruit, a mesh/ muslin bag to contain the mash and a heavy weight/press to help extract the juice.
Of course, you could also use an electric juicer if you happen to own one. Those with one or more large apple trees should seriously consider investing in a fruit mill and a fruit press, to make the job of processing the apples and making the juice a lot, lot easier. A hand-cranked mill will macerate the apples, and an old fashioned press will make it easier to get out more juice from the mashed apples.
How Do I Store Home-Made Apple Juice?
Home-made apple juice will only store for a few days in the fridge before it begins to turn into cider. Of course you could consider making your own alcoholic cider from your apples, but if you would rather just have the juice, you can extend its shelf-life by pasteurising it. To do so, you will need to place the bottles in a large pan of hot water, and heat them at a temperature of around 75 degrees for at least 20 minutes. Of course, if you want to keep apple juice even longer then you can also freeze it for later use – though make sure you leave room in containers for the juice to expand as it freezes.
Have you made apple juice at home? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.