I have found that the easiest way to make juice for drinking or for jelly is with a steam juicer.
The first time I used one was when my neighbor offered me the use of his. After using it just one time I knew there was no going back to the old way of making juice.
A stream juicer is very low tech kitchen equipment. It is simply a 4 piece pot.
The parts of the pots are:
A capped tube with a clamp. The clamp prevents the juice from flowing while it’s being extracted. The tube will begin to fill with hot juice as soon as the collection pan is filled 1″.
There is a collection pan. Notice the little hole on the inside of the pan at about the “10 o’clock” position. That’s where the juice comes out and flows into the tube.
There is a colander basket which holds the fruit.
Then there’s a lower pan for boiling water. The boiling makes the steam.
And then there’s a lid. The whole rig looks a little like a whiskey still to me when it is assembled.
The way that the steam juicer works is that the boiling water in the lower pan produces steam. That seam is driven into the fruit held in the colander basket located directly above to soften it. The juice then trickles down into a collection pan and is siphoned off into hot jars or pitcher via the tube.
I have found that jelly made from the juice is especially clear and sparkles. It works great for soft fruits like elderberries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries and black berries. I’m sure other types of soft fruit will work but I have no direct experience using them.
HOW TO USE A STEAM JUICER
- Fill the bottom part of the steam pan with water to about 1″ from the top. Be careful about over filling. Because if you overfill sometimes the water will spit out of the bottom pan during a rapid boil.
- Next place collection pan on top of the water pan.
- Then place colander basket with fruit on top of the collection pan.
- And lastly place the cover on the pan and turn on the heat to high.
It will take about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours to steam all of the juice out of most fruit. I’ve found that cranberries are very stingy about releasing their juice.
It is very important that the water does not boil dry in the lower pan. I try to check the lower pan every 30 minutes or so.
Take care to keep the siphon tube in a jar or container while the juice is being distilled. That’s because sometimes hot juice will trickle out if the tube hangs alongside the stove even with the clamp shut and the cap on. The juice that is collected is concentrated and can be canned immediately and processed by the water bath canning method.
I add about 1 cup of white sugar to every quart of juice. You can adjust the sweetness to your own tastes. It is really nice not to have to drink juice that is sweetened with corn syrup.
When I reconstitute the juice I add 1 quart of water to 1 quart of juice.
Chill and serve.