The Art of Preserving Apples Chapter 2: Making Apple Sauce, Juice, Hard Cider AND Vinegar From RAW Unpasteurized Apple Juice

in ecotrain •  8 months ago  (edited)

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“And when you crush an apple with your teeth, say to it in your heart:
Your seeds shall live in my body,
And the buds of your tomorrow shall blossom in my heart,
And your fragrance shall be my breath,
And together we shall rejoice through all the seasons.” ~ Khalil Gibran

I really had no choice but to feature apples in my submission for @eco-alex's week 4 Fruit it up Baby! - Medicinal Cooking Collective Diets For Ailments & Disease Challenge

We are homesteaders who eat what grows around us as much as possible. It just so happens that the early settlers planted apple trees and these old orchards still thrive in the woods around where we live. At the moment, the only FRESH fruit available to us in the crisp autumn weather is the resilient, crispy apple and we feel so lucky!

I have around 1,200 apples in my kitchen at the moment. It always seems like such a great idea at the time but I'll be honest, it is a lot of work. I have developed a way of doing a lot of things at once though and we've become quite efficient of going about preserving these apples. We reap many benefits from this work.

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We collect windfall apples. Some of these apples are bruised, misshapen or even chewed on. Some of them are perfect in every way. These are not the prettiest apples you can find. They are however a gift from nature that we appreciate. They are washed really, really well and some are discarded but we find most are quite usable.

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Nutrients & Health Benefits

There is an age old saying about apples 'an apple a day keep the doctor away'. Maybe it's true!

There is a lot of exciting research being done on apples. The benefits of eating apple is truly underrated I think.

Researchers G. Bureau and M. Martinoli from the University of Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, found that quercetin (one of the antioxidants found abundantly in apples) was one of two compounds that helped to reduce cellular death that is caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. source

  • Less than 100 calories in a medium sized apple
  • Free of fat, sodium and cholesterol
  • 17% of daily recommended fiber & 14% of daily recommended vitamin C
  • Eating a raw apple can aide in stimulating your digestive processes
  • Quercetin in the skin of an apple protects your brain cells. Gotta make sure those apples are organic or well washed.
  • Contain essential antioxidants and phytochemicals

Apple Goodness

We do quite a bit with apples. We love them because a lot of the recipes require no added sugar because apples are sweet enough as they are. Of all the recipes and things that I can make with apples, my favourite way to enjoy an apple is like this.

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There is nothing better than that satisfying crunch as your teeth sink through the skin of an apple.

We were asked to provide a recipe so I wanted to mention how simple and versatile juicing apples truly is.

We don't have a fancy apple press so I am using my juicers to do make our fresh pressed apple juice. It takes time but we think it is well worth the effort.

I am taking about raw unpasteurized juice in all of the recipes I mention here. Once you apply heat and 'pasteurize' you'll kill a lot of the beneficial yeasts and nutrients that make these recipes so amazing to begin with!

You can take your raw pressed apple juice and drink it or transform it into other amazing things. If you have excess raw apple cider you can freeze it. It only keeps about a week in the fridge before it starts to ferment.

Here's some of the things you can create with fresh pressed apple juice.

You can make apple sauce, hard cider, apple cider vinegar and I am sure there are more raw items, packed with healthy benefits that I haven't even learned to make yet.

I just think the versatility and the powerful health benefits are just so cool!

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You can strain the juice so that it is pulp free and use the pulp as an apple sauce. Keep in mind that if you have a lot, to retain the most nutrient's you'll want to freeze it and not boil it in a hot water bath for canning. Of course, if you have limited freezer space it is safe to can your apple sauce, and it is still healthy, it just loses some of the nutritional value in the process.

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Freshly pressed raw apple juice with pulp! All the goodness of apples ready to drink. You can add ginger and other ingredients to really punch it up.

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Hard apple cider. It is so easy to make. You don't even need to add yeast. Here is one guide for doing it that I found useful. It really is quite simple, you are basically leaving your raw apple cider out (covered by a cloth, and allowing it to ferment naturally. We made some without adding any sugar last year and didn't really like it. We'll be adding some sugar this time around (Which gets mostly eaten in the process of converting to alcohol anyhow).

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This is a vinegar mother. This slimy looking gelatinous disc is a living specimen. It is composed of cellulose and acetic acid bacteria (mycoderma aceti). It develops on fermenting alcoholic liquids, turning alcohol into acetic acid (vinegar) with a little help from some oxygen in the air.

I haven't written about making apple cider vinegar from cider (I write about doing it from fresh chopped apples) but it is pretty much the same method only easier! Making it from cider skips a few steps. Here is the recipe. You make the hard apple cider but instead of bottling it you allow it to continue to the next evolution which is vinegar.

This is all so easy right? It begins to make sense to learn how to do all of these things when you see how all of the recipes are connected to one another. There is a perfect synergy to it all.

Well friends, I better get back to work. We have a lot of apples that need my attention. I hope I've motivated you to experiment a bit with raw apple juice.


[@walkerland ]
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I have around 1,200 apples in my kitchen at the moment.

OH my WORD! That's a lot of apples!
I can remember my maternal grandma's apple butter and apple juice. Such fond memories.

Where we live is an apple tree and orchard haven too. There must be two dozen apple orchards and cider mills within a half hour's drive from us.

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oh, you really did have a resourceful grandma. I remember you wrote a really nice post about her quite a while back? I wish I would have been more interested in homesteading type things when my grandma was alive, all the things that I missed out on learning from her.

Just got a press this year and made fresh apple cider! Couldn't keep it around long enough to do anything else with it but drink it all up! Next year if I'm able to climb some trees, I'll get after some more fruit to preserve for the winter. A prego belly doesn't help with the balance up there ( :

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It must be wonderful to have a press! That is something on my wish list. Ah, yes, no tree climbing for you this year but so nice that you got to have a whole lot of apple goodness for you and your bean.

We aren't lucky enough to have apples quite that close at hand, but at least we've been able to go straight to the orchards just an hour away the past few years to load up on our seasonal bounty! I just ate a perfectly crisp and juicy apple this afternoon for a snack that almost had me weeping with joy it was so good. I'm still working through the 40 pounds that we bought, so every time I walk past the dining room table that is currently housing the rest of my stash I get a whiff of that beautiful smell. Love seeing all of the ways you utilize yours!

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oh, that scent, it really is lovely. With the bumps and bruises on ours I can't just store them which is a shame. It would be nice to have fresh apples in the pantry for later. Our house is such a mess right now with apples and pots and such. haha.

I love how you say you have AROUND 1200 apples like you havent counted your bounty he he. What about apple fruit leathers? I love wild apple bounties in the Autumn.. and yes that fresh crunch is welcomed. Theres something magical about apples.

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I counted one sink full as my measure. I am an -ish person. haha.

Yes! Fruit leathers should be on this list. I still have some from when we did this job last year and apple chips. They keep very well! I made pumpkin-apple leather earlier in the week. I like it - my husband didn't like it with pumpkin though.

Incredible, that's a whole lot of apples! I thought the 50 or so we had was a lot, I can't imagine that.
Love me some organic apple cider vinegar! I will eventually foray into making my own but for now Dr. Bragg's is good enough for what I need. I put a few tablespoons of it in my water each morning, helps with so much.

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Dr Braggs is great stuff - I Really like all of their products. We take ACV daily as well!

We had to go to Vermont to find apples as there was a general apple crop failure in our area. We spent Wednesday making apple cider for vinegar, getting 4 gallons of vinegar and 1 gallon of soft cider. They were McIntosh apples, 2nds, 4 bushels.

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oh how nice! Hope you had a nice day trip to Vermont. I've always wanted to go there. Do you have a cider press? We've always wanted one but they are so expensive. Maybe next year!!

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Yes, we picked up a super heavy duty cider press at an estate sale probably 15+ years ago for $50. Never been used. Never used it until the tree gave us apples in 2015. Again last year, and this year.

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what a great deal! Very cool. I should start keeping my eyes open for one. :) Did you ever do a post on using one? I would love a better idea of how it works, how long it takes etc.

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I tried to get photos as we went, for a post when I can finally put one together. So there will be one, but not for a while...

wow you are the apple queen! and GREAT entry .. ACV is special stuff.. i never even considered trying to make it.. looks like an art also!

HOW MANY APPLES!!!!

I can taste the applesauce on some thick pork chops, a hot apple pie topped with ice cream and a glass of warm apple cider from here...

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You've painted quite a tasty picture! I think I'll have to make some hot apple cider, its such a cool windy day - that would be perfect! Thanks for the idea!