Growing up in southern California, I never knew how good fresh local apples could be. We had strawberries and citrus right off the fields, but apples?? Nope. They were gross. I didn't know any better.
I now live in the mountain west (UT) and the fall harvest is AMAZING!! There's a nearby orchard that has a barn/storefront that sells half-bushels of fresh apples all fall. They sell 25-30lb boxes of "seconds" for $9-10! These are the slightly imperfect ones that don't look as pretty or might have bruises and bad spots or simply just be misshapen but still taste and work just great! The best are the Pink Lady and Honeycrisp apples! Imagine fresh, not-from-concentrate, homemade apple juice from Honeycrisp Apples for $3 and an hour's worth of work! It's not efficient, but totally worth it!
Last year I started juicing these apples and freezing them in our deep freezer, as well as giving the juice to friends for Christmas. It is the best juice ever. Martinelli's is good, but this is way better.
I don't have the patience to "can" these or do any special preservation, and I don't have a juicer. With really simple supplies and equipment, I can juice about a gallon per hour for about $3 worth of apples. I found a few quarts in the bottom of the freezer from last year and we drank them for breakfast and it was still perfect.
Onto the instructable:
-Apples (whatever you can get easily, I've used generic, no-variety apples from an aunt's front yard and they still made great juice)
-Food Processor (okay, so this is special equipment, but most people have these and they're $20-30 on Amazon)
-Straining bag - this came from a jelly strainer kit I found at the grocery store for $10. I've used it to make gallons and gallons of juice and yogurt without any major equipment or juicers. It's awesome. I'm sure a cotton sheet rolled up or a simple bag would work too. I tried a t-shirt once, but it "plugs up" too fast, maybe a real thin shirt would work, or an old dress shirt.
-A few large bowls
-A mesh strainer of any kind
-Vitamin C tablets (optional)
-Containers for juice (since these are getting frozen, anything that'll stand up to the freezer will work, I've used leftover Gladware containers that were once filled with deli-meat from the grocery store with good success)
Step 1: Chop It
Chop the apples into bite-sized chunks, and fill up your food processor to the top, just make sure you remember to put the blade in first, I always forget that step! Drives me crazy.
Cut out any "bad" spots, moldy bits, large bruises, etc, basically anything that'll give a bad taste. You can leave the core, seeds, and stems.
Don't waste time with this step, just hack away quickly, without getting any fingers in the way.
As an optional step to keep it from turning REAL brown, you can take any vitamin c tablets, and add a small, small amount to the food processor. Really, it doesn't take much. Too much and it affects the flavor. Actually, I like the brown juice more, has a richer flavor, but the green juice looks more appetizing. I chop a 500mg tablet into quarters and add one of those to each processor load.
So, brown juice is good, green juice is also good. It's getting frozen, so it doesn't matter much.
Step 2: MASH IT
Let that food processor go to town on the apples. Keep it going until is a nice mushy stew of apple bits. Then dump it all into your strainer bag.
Some little crumbs may come through the seams of the bag or back out the opening, so an extra strainer in the bottom of the catching bowl is a good idea.
Keep the catching bowl under the bag while you load it because it will instantly start dripping juice!
Step 3: Squeeze It!
I just use my bare hands to squeeze the bag and watch all that liquid gold flow! If I wanted to make some hard cider, this would probably be enough to get it started, but I'm not going for that, so into the freezer it'll go.
Just squeeze and squeeze and squeeze and squish, and squeeze until you're working just to get a few drops. The pulp inside the bag should be a lot smaller and feel fairly dry and crumbly.
Then switch places and carefully pour the juice again through your strainer and into your container. I'm just using plain old mason jars, but cheap Gladware containers have worked too (though they may crack in the freezer!
Leave a little room in the top of the jar to allow for freezing expansion.
Step 4: ENJOY!
Put a tight lid on there the container, put it in your freezer for however long you feel like, especially a deep freezer (it's good for at least a year without any loss of quality!)
The mush and pulp is great to add to your soil. If you went through the trouble of removing stems and seeds, you could add it to baking things, but, I'm not that industrious.
Sip it slowly, because it is AMAZING!!!
Throw some in a crock pot or slow cooker the night before Christmas with your favorite spices for an awesome cider ready for Christmas morning, and it'll make your house smell awesome!
Your strainer bag with stain brown, bleach water will turn it white again.
When it's freezing, maybe leave the lids slightly open so air can escape during freezing instead of cracking glass.
You may find some sticky Apple syrup on the outside of the container so keep it wrapped in a bag or something to prevent a mess in your freezer.