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How To Make and Freeze Your Own Fresh Fruit Juice
Why Make Your Own?
If you're like us, we love fruit juice -- all kinds. There's always some in the refrigerator.
But lately it's gotten so incredibly expensive. And honestly? Apple juice -- which isn't particularly costly -- just doesn't seem to taste very good.
Why not make your own? You'll know exactly what's in it (no preservatives, no chemicals, no additives or coloring) and it's great if you prefer organic and natural.
And it's so much cheaper than buying it at the store! When so many fruits are coming into season, we start making and preserving fruit juice to enjoy in the coming months.
It's easy -- here's how to do it.
First you prepare your fruits
Wash the fruit (apples, plums, pears, peaches -- just about any fruit you love!) then prepare it to go into a large pot.
(By the way, orange juice doesn't seem to freeze very well. FYI. However, I have had good luck with lemon and lime juice. All you do is squeeze your lemon/limes for juice, put into ice-cube trays, freeze, then put the cubes into a freezer bag.)
Preparation: for apples -- just cut into a couple of pieces, no need to remove seeds or stems
for pears -- cut each one into several pieces, no need to remove seeds or stems
for plums -- cut in half -- don't worry about removing the stone that's inside
for pineapples -- cut away the rough outside, then slice it into slices. No need to remove the inner core part.
Put your chopped fruit (it's okay if they are large chunks) into a large stock pot and add about a cup of water. Bring it slowly to a boil -- s-l-o-w-l-y is the key. This will increase the amount of juice that is extruded from the fruit.
Bring it to a boil and boil for about 5 minutes. Then turn off the heat.
(NOTE: Bringing the juice to a boil stops the actions of certain enzymes that would change the color and taste of your fruit juice while it is in the freezer. This "cooking" step is really important, unless you plan to drink your juice within a few weeks.)
After it has cooled to room temperature (sometimes I start working on it while it's still warm) pour the juice and fruit through a strainer into a pan (I use a large stainless steel pan that is wide and holds a lot of juice.)
Sometimes I put this mixture through the strainer several times. It depends on how clear I want my juice. For example, I put apple juice through a couple of times, but only put my pear juice through once. It's up to you.
A great tool to own is a cone-shaped strainer. They come with a wooden "dowel" that you use to press the fruit against the sides to get the maximum amount of juice into your pan.
The flesh of the fruit that's left behind makes incredibly delicious jams and preserves. If you choose to make them, you will need to remove the stone from the plums, the seeds and core from the apples or pears.
How To Freeze Your Juice
Get quart freezer bags (not sandwich bags) and write the date and type of juice on the white marker on the front of the bag. Be specific! If you're putting up Santa Rosa plum juice, then write that on the bag.
A week ago I made apple juice from Gravenstein apples, and from Rome apples. I made them separately, so that I could have the juice separated. The Gravenstein juice is a pale pink color, while the Rome is sort of a golden color. The taste, as you might imagine, is incredible!
Use a funnel to put three cups of juice into each bag. Lay it carefully on the counter, squeeze out the air in the bag, then press the seal closed.
IMPORTANT: once the bag is sealed, place it into a second freezer bag.
I wish I'd known to double bag the first time I made juice. I didn't know there were tiny holes in one of the bags, and I had a mess in my freezer where it leaked. Double bagging prevents this from happening.
Lay your bags flat in the freezer. This is really important. Once they freeze, you'll have packages that are easy to stack. If you just toss them willy-nilly into the freezer you'll have strangely-shaped bags that take up much more room than is necessary.
Directions continue after the ebay information below.
How To Serve Your Juice
Depending on the type of juice, you may need to dilute it with water after you defrost it.
For example, plum juice becomes quite thick, and I mix one part plum juice with one part water. If this seems like too much water, then use less and taste it.
With apple juice, I use a three to one ratio of apple juice to water. For example, to three cups of apple juice I'll add one cup of water. Experiment! Try adding less if you wish, and tasting it till it tastes the way you like it.
I also add a bit of sugar to my plum juice, but add no sweetener to the apple juice. Let your tongue be your guide till you get the taste to your liking.
Here's another great way to serve fruit juice: rather than using water, use club soda. It makes the fruit effervescent -- and with plum or apple or pear (or peach!) it's incredibly delicious.