DIY Juice Concentrate

The Steam Juicer is an amazing bit of engineering. It allows me to steam cook the daylights out of just about anything in order to make juice concentrate. A few years ago my mother-in-law gave me her steamer juicer and my mom and sister offered us the grapes from their vineyard. So we began juicing and canning.

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If you’re not familiar with the steamer juicer, let me start at the bottom rather then the top. The base holds the water to boil and create the steam.
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Next comes the part that holds the juice. The steam flows up through the center and begins to heat the bottom of the colander section. Then the juice drips back down into here and flows from the plastic tube with the clamp at the bottom and into your canning jars. (Scroll up to the first picture to see the tubing portion.) Its important to remember to put the clamp onto the tubing <b>before</b> you begin. Mopping up steaming hot grape juice before it flows under the stove is a whole bunch of no fun. Just take my word for it.
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Finally, the top section is the colander. Load it up with whatever you want to juice and cover with the big lid. We just give our fruits a good wash and toss them in. I’ve combined all kinds of things in here like crabapples with grapes, peaches and nectarines with apples. Whatever sounds good to ya!

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Turn up the heat and wait. In about 20-30 minutes you’ll be able to hold a quart canning jar under the tubing, squeeze the clamp and out flows your juice. I usually use a damp kitchen wash cloth to hold the jar because the juice that comes out is really stinkin’ hot! If you don’t get a quart’s worth all at once, don’t worry. Just set the partially filled jar on the counter, cover the opening with a clean cloth to prevent the flies from sampling your juice and wait for more juice to steam out of your fruit.

Don’t forget to periodically check the amount of water in the base section. I let mine boil dry once, the heat got too intense and it burned the juice in the next chamber. What a bugger to clean, let me tell ya. I find that I get started doing other things while the fruit is cooking down and I forget to check the water level unless I set a timer and check it every 90 minutes or so. When the timer goes off you can also add more fruit to the top. What was in there should have cooked down to the point that you can add more. I go ahead and pile it on, mashing down the first layer, getting all the juice I can from the first batch. After you’ve cooked down the fruit until its a mushy mess, you can lift off the top section and dump the mush into a 5 gallon bucket to cool outside and save for your compost pile or worm bin. After you fill your quart jars, you’ll want to process them through a water bath canner just to make sure they’re good and sealed for winter pantry storage.

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I’ve found that in general, one quart of homemade juice concentrate combined with one quart water only needs about 1/2 cup of sugar to be a wonderful, all natural drink. Add some ice, club soda and a wee bit of vodka to make a refreshing adult beverage that I’ll enjoy while cleaning the stickiness off my stove. Cheers!

 

One Response to DIY Juice Concentrate

  1. [...] something weighty to hold down the end while you begin to braid.  My choice of a full glass of homemade grape juice probably wasn’t the wisest or safest choice, but it was handy.  Begin braiding, being [...]

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