There is nothing quite like growing produce for your own family, it tastes better, smells fresh and is made with love. Getting the family involved with garden chores is a great way to make light work of those difficult tasks in the garden and when it comes to picking apples you will have several willing helpers.
Managing a large estate means I get involved in growing, picking and producing tasty fruit and vegetables for the house and it’s occupants but you don’t have to have acres of orchard to enjoy fresh homegrown produce. In-fact a single fruit tree will often provide enough apples to feed your family and during a heavy harvest you may even have apples left for pressing into pure apple juice.
Pressing your own apples is much easier than you’d think and with a little investment you will be bottling your own apple juice in no time at all.
Once you have careful picked your apples to avoid bruising you will need to carefully wash and quarter them removing any damaged pieces of fruit.
Next crushing the apples into a bucket, there are several grinder options on the market and whilst the initial cost may seem to out way the results it may be worth considering asking some friends or family to form a apple pressing community or alternatively hire out your equipment to neighbours.
Crushing or grinding the apples maximise the amount of juice you are going to squeeze out of each apple, creating a pulp that can be pressed and filtered to create your fresh apple juice.
Once you have grinder your apples to a pulp into a sterilised bucket, you need to set up your apple press with a straining bag and carefully pour in your apple pulp.
The pulp can sit in the press for a couple of hours or overnight as you gradually apply pressure more and more delicious fresh juice will seep throughout the straining bag and collect ready for you to bottle.
Remember if you can resist drinking the fresh juice immediately and are planning to store your apple juice, for any length of time then you will l need to preserve the bottles and juice and accept that the nutritional value of your apples will quickly diminish.
Fresh is best, juicing apples and drinking the juice fresh, provides you will all the benefits without losing any of the nutrients that will reduce over a peroid time. Bottling apple juice in sterile glass screw cap bottles, prolongs the life and useability of the juice, similarly adding vitamin C extract can futher improve the nutrient quality of the juice.
Fill clean (a dishwasher without detergent will sterilise these bottle quickly for you) glass bottles with juice and seal the tops loosely, place them in a large pan, fill the pan with water to the required level and heat to 75°C.
Set a timer to 25 minutes. Once the juice inside the bottles has reached temperature, start the timer for 25 mins, turn off the heat and allow to start cooling next the caps on the bottles can be tightened, and the bottles carefully removed and allowed to cool.
The shelf life of each glass bottle of pasteurised apple juice is up to 1 or 2 years but drinking it much sooner will ensure you get the best vitamins and minerals from your juice. Bear in mind that a little sediment may occur this depends on the combination of apples you use, this is completely natural and safe to drink simply shake the bottle before serving a delicious chilled glass of fresh apple juice.
Stephen raised on a farm in Mid Wales, trained in horticulture under apprenticeship with the National Trust and has worked in several prestigious locations around the world. Today as Head gardener for a large private estate on the outskirts of London, a keen plantsman, horticulturalist and nature lover. Managing large formal gardens, growing a huge range of fruit, vegetables and homemade produce for the estate residents. Stephen with assistance from a team of professional garden and farm staff, cares for livestock, including cattle, sheep, poultry and horses, completes property maintenance and grounds management.
Stephen believes knowledge is to be shared and thanks to some amazing mentors in his career path hopes to be able to share this knowledge with others like you and your friends all he asks in return is that you find the time to leave a brief comment and share socially with your friends.
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Head Gardener and International Horticultural Consulatant
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and a passion grow together, when you find it in a Garden it’s like finding Paradise“
iGrowHort – A Head Gardener’s Horticultural Journey of love, life and learning.