We, at Moorparks Holiday Cottages, have a number of apple trees, twelve to be exact so making apple juice or cider was a must. When we moved in we planted six along the fenceline with the alpaca field. The rest were already here and are mature and one old tree. We have one which is cooking apples and one which is really horrible and nobody will touch it, not even the animals. We moved to Moorparks about three years ago and each year we have said “we must do something with those apple”. The first two year, the animals had some, the neighbours had some, friends with animals had some and the rest went on the compost pile. After visiting a friend, he showed me what he had done and how he had done it. This is the year of action.
Our newest apple trees
So, two weeks ago I tried to make my first batch of apple juice. I was only going to start with a small amount as I had never made it before. Obviously, just making the juice is not a problem, it’s the pasteurizing which I wasn’t sure about. I didn’t want to make too much, leave it in the cupboard and find out it had gone off. I googled what to do, read many different ways and looked at lots of things you can buy to do the job and then made a plan. I made the first batch, 7 bottles, which was a mixture of two different types of apples. It tasted really good. I kept the rest for a while and we had some over the weekend when our eldest son came to visit. It was still good! So, the system seems to have worked. I do realise that a couple of weeks may not be a fool proof test but i am going to take the risk. I started off at 8.30am and collected two large bags of apples, one from each tree and then into the sink. Washed and chopped them into quarters and then into the apple crusher (Named Wesley). From Wesley into the apple press (we didn’t name the apple press, that would be silly) and then sqeeze the apple juice out into a jug. We sieved the juice and poured it into cleaned bottles and loosely put the tops on.
A couple of the older apple trees
When I had five bottles I placed them in a large pan of water, making sure they were at least three quarters covered. Onto the aga to bring the water temperature up, I had bought a digital thermometer for this bit. The thermometer probe goes into one of the bottles and then you bring the temperature of the juice upto 75 degrees. When at 75 degrees ste the timer for 25 minutes and keep the temperature at 75. When the time is up, put the caps on tightly and lay the bottles on their side until they are cool. That’s it. Obviously this is still early days, it may go wrong and it may not but I can adjust my method now that I have started. We now have lovely apple juice from our apples and our apple trees.
I got this for xmas last year, i wondered when it may become useful.
All the apples I used for this batch.
After crushing they went into the press.
I have worked out the cost of buying Wesley and the press and the bottles etc. I have checked the price of ‘Fresh, Pure’ apple juice in the shops. I now know that if I make apple juice every year, by the time I am 218 years old I should just about break even on the costs. 😉
But you can’t beat making it yourself.
The sheep and alpacas loved the leftover pulp, but there was more than they could eat.
Apple juice being pasteurized
The end result, labelled with the type of apples. We plan on trying different mixes.
Now, time to pick the blackberries to try some more jam.