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Posts Tagged ‘apple juice’

fall foods

This year we’re making an extra effort to put up as much local food as possible while it’s at its peak ripeness. In most parts of the country, apples are in big demand. Orchards are packed and picked and farm stands are offering their very best. While my intention for apples was primarily to freeze, I couldn’t pass by a great deal on “juice apples” that a nearby farm stand had – $12 for a bushel. Juice apples are basically slightly bruised or barely overripe fruit. It’s best to combine several varieties of fruit to balance out sweetness, brightness, and tartness.

Once I got the apples home, I had to put my brain to work debating the best way to make cider without a juicer. Simple was key for me. My first experiment was fun… and messy.

First I lined the interior of a large box (conveniently the lid from one of my bushels) with aluminum foil. Next I set my heavy-duty cutting board inside (a piece of plywood would also work) and covered it with aluminum also. Once everything was juice-proof, I made a curtain of sorts out of wax paper and cut a slit down the middle.

lined box for apple cider

lined box for apple juice

Now for the fun part. I used my meat tenderizer to smash the apples to bits! I found it beneficial to turn up the foil at the bottom edge so that any juice didn’t pour out over the floor. This would be a great project to get kids involved, or to take out any frustrations.

whack-an-apple

apple mash

I finished up by squeezing the apple pulp, by hand, with some good cheesecloth into a container and quickly gulped it down. It had to be the best cider I’ve ever had.

Of course having a second bushel of apples to deal with meant I didn’t have much time or energy to play “Whack-an-Apple”, so I figured out the cheaters version of making cider.

grater

Quarter apples and send through the grater attachment on your food processor. When you get through all of your apples, allow them to sit in large bowls overnight in your refrigerator. The next day wring the grated apples through cheesecloth and strain the final product if needed. Letting the apples rest overnight allows more juices to naturally release from the fruit, making your job that much easier.

The best part is that you can freeze any cider that you can’t immediately consume for later use! How about some warm cider on Christmas Eve? If the cider wasn’t so good as it was, I would even consider making some apple jack! (hic)

What’s your favorite thing to make with apples?

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Jennifer can also be found at Unearthing This Life where she blargs about her adventures with her Hubby, the Kid, and their life in rural Tennessee.

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This post is a small rant on my part…

I live in Washington State.  We grow more apples than any other state in the union.  We really grow some great apples!

My husband in a small fit of rebellion from the Real Food Challenge bought some frozen apple juice at a local supermarket.  The brand was Western Family.  I stared at him as he mixed it in the pitcher.  I asked if he had looked to see where that apple juice came from.

He looked at me though I had two heads…Well I’m sure its from Washington, we are the apple capitol of the US after all…was his reply, besides it was a really good sale.

Hmmm you might want to check the end of that can darling.

In small writing he read “Apple concentrate from China”

He looked at me, I glared at him.  He drank it anyway.

OK…I cannot tell you how this annoys the crap out of me...seriously people.  How can it be that a brand called Western Family sold in a grocery store in Washington be made from Chinese apples?

I have done a little investigating.

After Chinese juice concentrate entered the U.S. market, the average price for juice apples fell to $55 a ton in 1998 from $153 a ton in 1995.  That means our apple growers had to lower their prices by almost 2/3 to compete with Chinese prices.

I found with some research that China is the 3rd biggest supplier of our food after Mexico and the US itself.  About 50% of all the apple concentrate in the US is from China.

But my question is still why apple juice from China in Washington?

Money…

There is absolutely no other reason than it is cheaper to import apple juice from across the globe than it is to buy it from our American farmers.

And the blame for this I lay squarely on the shoulders of consumers.  We as consumers want food that is cheap and we don’t seem to care where it comes from or what the import of these foods are doing to our farmers, our trade deficit, or our health.

If we demanded domestically grown, organic produce that is what we would have…but that is not what we want.  We want ‘cheap who cares where it comes from food’.

I say that we will certainly get what we deserve when we can no longer remember what an apple orchard looks like because we have driven our local farmers our of business all because we want cheap juice from China.

So when hubby was at work I dumped his other can down the drain…

And made him promise that if he must have apple juice at least make it something that is grown here in the US…Washington would be nice…although I’m not sure if there is any left.

Because you see even our beloved Tree Top Apple Juice which was founded in my hometown in Central Washington and brought a lawsuit against dumping of apple juice from China now uses concentrate from China.  How can that be even possible???

Martinelli’s was the only apple juice from concentrate I could find that is 100% American made all the time.

Juice that is not from concentrate does not contain apples from China as the US only imports frozen juice concentrate and not fresh apples.

So there we have it…one more thing to cross off my list of  ‘won’t buy ever’ things!

Guess I will need to go plant a few more apple trees in my orchard.

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