We are currently in the throes of apple processing season. My usual approach is to stew all my apples and then bottle them hot before heating them in a water bath to ensure that they keep for a good long time. I used to freeze them, but we just ended up with a freezer full of apples with no room for anything else! Now, once they are processed, no additional energy is required for their storage. This year I’ve also bottled blackberries with some of the apples for a bit of variety. I love being able to preserve food like this, especially apples since we get so many given to us for nothing.
For a few years, though, we have been discussing the possibility of making a scratter and press so that we could produce apple juice. Somehow we never got round to it. And then a couple of weeks ago I was introduced to a gadget that I simply couldn’t resist – a steam juicer. This amazing gadget produces hot juice that can be bottled directly for storage. It’s really just a big steamer with a reservoir to collect the juice, which has a pipe to drain hot juice directly into bottles. All that the user needs to do is wash and then chop up the apples (in fact it works with all sorts of fruit and vegetables), place them in the steamer basket with some sugar if the juice is for keeping, fill the bottom pan with water, turn the heat on and let them get on with it. After about a pint of juice has been released, you collect this in a jug and pour it back over the fruit, but after that there’s very little to do. You obviously need to be around to keep an eye on things to make sure the bottom pan doesn’t boil dry and to drain juice into (pre-heated) bottles, but it’s a remarkably easy way to produce juice.
And the name of this glorious gadget? It’s a Mehu Liisa. And I feel I must thank Rachel (@CambridgeGoats) for introducing me to this wonderful thing. Now, where can I get some more apples…?