Natural juices give us much more than sweet refreshments. Naturally squeezed fruit or vegetable juice is a unique combination of vitamins, minerals, and sugars needed by our body.
You can make fresh homemade juice by simply cutting up the fruit and vegetable you want to use. Fruits can be put in a blender or a juicer for an instant drink. Syrup can be made by cooking the fruit and storing it in glass jars.
Juices in stores, which manufacturers generally guarantee are natural, contain sugar, or artificial sweeteners, additives, and are on the shelves sometimes for months. As you squeeze fresh fruits and vegetables, you release valuable nutrients that the fruit is enriched with, not only enzymes but also vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
How do you make juice from scratch?
If you have a juicer or a blender, making homemade juice will be an easy task. Whatever fruit you’re using, make sure to wash them first with running water to get rid of dirt and bacteria. Delicate berries, such as blueberries and raspberries, rinse out softly.
For fruits like apples, oranges, and mangoes, remove the skin and take out seeds. Remove stems and leaves also. Chop the larger fruit into little pieces to make it easier to blend. Feed the chopped pieces to a juicer in smaller portions. Keep adding the pieces until all is blended and combined. You can also use a blender if you don’t have a juicer.
If you don’t have a juicer or a blender, you can still squeeze the juice out of the fruit. First, wash your fruit under running water and pat them dry with a paper towel. Peel the skin off and remove stems and leaves. Grate the fruit into a bowl, sweeten them with sugar or honey. Let it sit for a few hours and strain it through a cloth or gauze.
You can do the same thing with berries. You don’t have to grate them, but crush them and repeat the straining process.
Natural apple juice is considered one of the healthiest homemade drinks in the world. It is characterized by its sweet and sour taste and clear yellow color. It can be a real refreshment on both summer and colder winter days.
Start by washing the apples and chopping them up into little pieces; remove the seeds. You don’t have to peel them. Put the apples in the pot and add water just enough to cover them. Don’t add too much water, because you will dilute the juice. Boil the apples for around 25 minutes, until they get soft. Place gauze or a coffee filter in a strainer and over the bowl.
Slowly pour the juice onto the strainer and mash the apples softly with a spoon. The juice will filter into the bowl and the pulp of the apple will remain on top of the gauze. Place the leftover pulp into a separate bowl for later. Repeat the process until you squeeze all the juice from the apples.
After the juice cools down, taste it and add sugar, or any other flavors you want. The syrup you made out of the apples can last you a few days, but be sure to keep it in the fridge. Store the juice in jars, because they have a tight seal.
Before you store the juice in the jars, you have to wash the jars in hot, soapy water and rinse them out. You can use a dishwasher and set the dishwasher to “sanitize” cycle. Keep the jars hot if you’re putting hot juice in them, to prevent them from breaking.
The syrup is a thick fruit juice cooked with a large amount of sugar. Most of the syrups are made from raspberries, blackberries, currants, and blueberries, but they can also be prepared from a variety of berries from which the juice is easily squeezed. Sugar has the property of preserving fruit from spoilage when added in larger quantities. By short cooking, the syrup retains its natural color and fruit flavor.
Besides, fruit syrup is easier to prepare than pasteurized juices. Syrups are used as refreshing drinks, diluted with plain water. The soft berry fruit for the syrup should be crushed and left with a little sugar in a cool place overnight. The next day the juice is strained, to which sugar is added.
To make juice from berries, on average, from 1 to 1,5 kg of sugar should be added to 1 kg of fruit if you want to use sugar. The juice with the sugar is boiled for only 5 minutes and poured hot into bottles. Bottles should be closed immediately after filling with a rubber cap or cork. The syrup should not be cooked for more than 5 minutes as the fruit will lose its aroma and vitamins.
Pour the syrups into dark bottles, and if you don’t have them, wrap them in the paper. Once the bottle is opened, the syrup will not spoil quickly, but it should be kept in the refrigerator.
How long does homemade juice last?
If you squeeze out fresh juice from fruit, it can last up to 5 days. The quality of ingredients also affects how long it can be stored. Oxidation is the number one enemy in storing fresh juices. Air, heat, and light can make your juice turn sour. This means that you should store the juice in the refrigerator.
The fruit and vegetables you use should be bought at the farmer’s market, rather than in a store. Farmer’s market will most likely have fresh fruit. Even with fresh fruit, to prevent it from going bad you can throw in a mint leaf. The mint leaf will fight away odor and keep the juice fresh.
You can use saran wrap and put it on the bottle, under the cap, to prevent air from coming in. If you made too much juice, but don’t want to throw it away – freeze it.
For syrups, do not store them in plastic bottles. Plastic bottles don’t have a tight seal, so the oxidation process is faster. Instead, store them in glass bottles, or mason jars. The jars have a tight seal that will slow down the oxidation process. You can store syrup in a jar for a month if kept in a refrigerator.
You will notice that the syrup has gone bad if it starts changing its texture and color. The flavor will also be compromised. The syrup will usually become thicker and darker.
Lemon juice or lemon water will slow down the oxidation because lemon contains vitamin C, a well-known antioxidant.
How do you preserve homemade apple juice?
The first option everyone chooses is to freeze the apple juice. After making, cool down the juice and put it into vapor-resistant containers. When defrosting the fruit, it is best to do it at room temperature.
The most common way is to pasteurize juice and it can last up to 2 years. Pasteurization is a process that involves heating the juice to 75°C and keeping it at that temperature for around 20 minutes. This process will stop the juice from fermenting and will kill any bacteria that cause the juices to spoil.
Sweet apple juice must be poured hot in a sterilized glass jar and bottles. Then wrap or block the bottles and juice bottles with sterilized lids and turn the glass jars upside down. After pouring the syrup into the jars, the hot syrup in the jars should be covered with rags or some cloth and left to cool overnight or throughout the day. Only after it has cooled can it be stored in the pantry or refrigerator.
When storing in the pantry, the room should be dark and dry, and the temperature in it should be between 10°C and 15°C. Under such conditions, even preservative-free syrup can be stored in the pantry for several months without spoiling.
The juice can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, and it will not spoil if the jars are properly and thoroughly sterilized. After opening the jars, it should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within a few days.
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