Tag Archives: juicing

Apple Juice Time

The group came and the group went. They fed the chickens and  said goodbye to the ones that are going to market tomorrow. They did some tree measuring for the Woodland Trust monitoring project and some tidying too, but I hardly noticed them because I was juicing apples.

It can be a drawn out job at the best of times, but when the people who put it away last year put it away (a) dirty and (b) at random it can be a trial. I still haven’t found the siphon tube or the filter for the funnel, so we improvised. We used a kitchen sieve for a filter and when we had to transfer the contents of one barrel to another we used that old male stand-by known as brute force and ignorance. It worked.

We also suffered delays whilst I found the powdered Vitamin C – if you don’t add it you end up with brown juice. It’s still good, and it’s all natural but the oxidation makes it look unattractive. Three teaspoons in thirty litres of juice (or 52 pints if you still use them) reverses the oxidation and turns it back to a nice golden colour

We now have 40 bottles of juice and another barrel that needs bottling tomorrow.

Things would have gone better if I’d remembered how to use the steriliser, but the temperature control dial is a bit misleading – an embossed black mark on a black dial, which isn’t great for a short-sighted man in a dimly lit shed. Yes, I used the wrong end of the pointer and set the temperature far too low. By the time we’d found that out we had to wait an extra half hour to sterilise the juice in the bottle.

Of course, you can get by without sterilising the juice, as long as you either freeze it or drink it within 3-5 days. After that the natural yeast on the apples builds up enough gas to blow tops off and cause all sorts of problems. A few years ago we had a customer who had his juice put into a 10 litre bags and then went on holiday. I didn’t do the sterilising in those days. The juice fermented, blew the bag up until it started to leak and came back to find his kitchen floor covered with juice and a fine selection of insect life.

That’s why I got the sterilising job.

Towards the end we had bottle cap roulette, which is a game played with a variety of hot recycled bottles containing hot juice. Not boiling, but 80 degrees C isn’t very comfortable. The game consists of heating up the bottles and juice then finding a cap that fits, lifting the bottle out, tightening the top and laying it on its side.

It’s always a relief when you finish that bit with no spills, burns or seepage.

Oh yes, I love the apple harvest. 😉

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The one on the left has had Vitamin C added

 

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Bottles in steriliser – steaming

 

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Ready to drink!

Bottles and the art of Business management

The damsons are nearly ready and the plums won’t be far behind. Indeed we have had some plums on the anonymous tree that produces yellow plums, though only two. One is still in the tree and one was on the floor been eaten by wasps until I shifted them. The remaining parts were very juicy, though if the best it can do is two plums it will be having an appointment with a wood-burning stove in the next few years. I’m sure that I can encourage it to fruit in the next couple of years as it’s been neglected recently.

I’m doing the pruning this year, and with the old orchard, the new orchard, the agroforestry trees and the odds and ends it’s over 500 trees, so I’m going to have plenty to do.

We need 250 ml drinks bottles because we’re going to try selling more of the apple juice through the cafe this year, and we need 1 lb jam jars for the jam because people haven’t been bringing old jars in fast enough this year. We are still allowed to reuse jars, despite various scare stories in the press, but we just can’t get enough. It won’t be a surprise to anyone in the UK that the situation is so ambiguous, because we’re used to it. After all, if you read the last paragraph you will see I am buying bottles and jars in two different measuring systems.

Now, each seller has their own idea of what numbers to sell in, whether to include lids, what to charge for shipping and what to stock. The jars from one, for instance, were far cheaper than anyone else but they don’t sell 1 lb jars. Their shipping is so high that if you aren’t buying the jars that we ended up buying slightly more costly bottles from a company with lower shipping costs. One of the companies sells in dozens, one in 25s, 50s, and 100s. The calculator on my phone is a bit fiddly in the area of the small button/big finger interface but fortunately I had long division beaten into me as a kid so I was equal to the challenge.

As an aside, did you realise that long division is In “a standard division algorithm suitable for dividing multidigit numbers”.Strange stuff this long division, I’ve been doing it all my life but I hardly recognise it when I have to read the definition!

I suppose this is the definition of management – when you spend more time buying the bottles than making the juice.