One of our favourite ways to use up our bumper apple crop from the forest garden is to make apple juice. In a previous post, I already mentioned our fruit press, which is essential to us in being able to make the most of all our apples. We have a range of different apple varieties in our small orchard – some ideal for juicing.
But there is no way that we could possible drink all the apple juice we make immediately. Yesterday, we did two small presses and got over 15 75cl bottles full. We had already made some, and still have more juice to make as different types of apples mature over the next couple of weeks.
So how do you preserve apple juice to drink over the months to come?
Of course, you can take some of your apple juice and make a hard apple cider. We do this with some of our later cider apples. But mostly, we prefer to pasteurise the juice, so it will keep for six months or even up to a couple of years.
We bottle the juice and then place the bottles in hot water, with the lids a little loose. The juice is heated in a large pan to 75 degrees C. for 20 minutes. The lids are then screwed on tightly and the juice should keep for much longer.
Though we love apple juice in our house, we should have pasteurised apple juice to see us through until spring. This is one of a wide range of ways in which we take autumn’s bounty and preserve it for the months to come.
While we also like to make all sorts of apple butters, jams, jellies, chutneys and other preserves, sometimes it is good to keep things simple. A clean, crisp and refreshing apple juice can be great – especially over the winter months when there are fewer fresh fruity flavours around.