28 September 2014

Apple juice

For as long as I can remember autumn has pretty much been synonymous with apples. Every year we went down to the countryside to pick the apples and then spend a good evening or two making apple juice. And I'm not talking about a couple of kilos of apples and a couple of bottles of juice. I'm talking about a massive cartload of apples and litres and litres of juice - it was enough to last us the whole year. And bearing in mind that we drank apple juice all the time and it was 5 of us, we made a lot of juice. I went to the countryside yesterday and had the chance to pick some apples, nothing compared to the amounts we do back in Estonia, but still a decent quantity to help to fill out the pantry.

Making juice today at home was miles apart from doing that in Estonia - instead of the crushing machine and the juice press I used my small juicer. And I have to admit that when I was finally done with the juice my kitchen looked like a battlefield - splashes of apple juice on the counter and cupboards and incredibly sticky everywhere else. But the smell of fresh apple juice made it so worth the mess. 

I can honestly say that making apple juice is a bit of a hassle, but it is so worth it. Store bought juices have never even come close to the real home made ones and I am so glad that I got myself together and made some. In all honesty, in a couple of days time I might go through the hassle once more, so I'd have a nice supply for when my friends and family come to visit or when I just feel like treating myself to something that reminds me of Estonia. 

Ingredients
- 4.5 l freshly pressed apple juice
- 100 g sugar
- Sterilised glass bottles / jars

Directions
First put the apples through the juicer until you have a good 4.5 litres of apple juice. Then strain the juice through a muslin cloth to remove all the tiny bits. 

Place everything into a large pot and bring up to 85C. Skim the foam and let it simmer for 15 minutes or so. Then add the sugar. If you want yours sweeter add more than that, but I prefer mine quite sour (and to quote my mum - you can always buy the sugary syrup "apple juice" from the shops). Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely. 

Then pour the juice into the bottles / jars and close the caps whilst the juice is still hot. Let it cool down and label it. Enjoy immediately or put away for the cold winter months to come. To serve, dilute it with water and for added twist serve with lemon and orange slices.