Amanda has a decade's worth of homesteading experience: gardening, canning, butchering chickens, milking cows, and making maple syrup.
Makes Juicing Easy
A steam juicer makes juicing fruit easy. Generally speaking, there is little prep work needed. You can just throw your fruit in the top pan and fill the bottom pan with water. Before you know it, you will be bottling wonderful pasteurized juice. Since the juice is steamed, no further processing is necessary. Cap your jars right away so that the steam can purify the lids and you are good to go. In this article we will look at the parts of a steam juicer and see how it works.
Anatomy of a Steam Juicer
A steam juicer has four main parts: the bottom pan, middle pan, top pan, and the lid. Water is placed in the bottom pan. As it boils, steam rises up through a hole in the middle pan and cooks the fruit in the top pan. The lid prevents the steam from escaping. As the fruit cooks, juice drips down through holes in the top pan and collects in the middle pan. The silicon tube is used to fill jars with this juice. Since the juice is steamed, it is pasteurized and no further canning is necessary. However, if you want to be extra safe or plan to store your juice for a long time, you can water bath can it.
I bought my Cook N Home 11-quart steam juicer back in 2013. I use it every year and it has not let me down. It is all stainless steel, which makes it easy to clean. This is the juicer you see pictured in this article.
Steam Juicing: Great for Concord Grapes, Aronia Berries, and Elderberries
I have a lot of grapes. I planted several varieties of sweet, seedless, table grapes, but what grew on the vine were tart, tough-skinned, seeded, Concord grapes. My best guess is that my sweet grapes were grafted onto Concord root stock and must have died back during the winter, so that Concord shoots grew up from the roots. Anyway, I needed a way to use my Concord grapes and I found that steam juicing them was the best use for them.
Juicing grapes is particularly easy. You do not need to remove anything. You can put the stems and even some leaves right in the juicer. I tend to remove the stems and leaves and wash my grapes anyway, just because I like to know there are no bugs in there.
I also like to add aronia berries and elderberries to my grape juice. This produces a juice cocktail that is high in vitamin C. Aronia and elderberries can be rather tart as well, so I mix them in smaller quantities. You may add sugar to the juice at this time, just sprinkle it over the top of your fruit. But I find that my finished juice usually needs a little diluting, so I add sugar and water before I drink it.
Note: If you use elderberries, they must be picked off the stems as the stems are poisonous.
Instructions for Using a Steam Juicer
- Wash your fruit. Cut large fruit, such as apples, into quarters.
- Remove parts that may be poisonous including pits, seeds, stems and leaves.
- Make sure everything is ready; wash your jars and lids, have pot holders and utensils in easy reach, have a pitcher of water to add to the bottom pan when it gets low.
- It is helpful to have a small table to set the jars on as they fill.
- Add water to the bottom pan.
- Place the middle and top pan on the bottom pan and make sure the silicon tube is hooked up on a handle.
- Add fruit to the top pan.
- Turn on the burner and keep the water at a boil.
- When you see juice rising in the silicon tube, you may start to fill your jars. You do not want to let the juice get too high or it will overflow through the steam hole, into the bottom pan. The level of the juice in the silicon tube is the same as the level of juice in your pan. It is tricky to know where that center hole is though.
- Carefully tip the tube down into a jar and squeeze the metal clamp to allow the juice to flow. Beware, the juice will not necessarily stop flowing when you release the metal clamp. You will need to lift the tube high above the level of juice in the middle pan to get it to stop.
- Fill your jar to 1/4" from the top and cap it immediately.
- You may add fruit to the top pan as it cooks down.
- You may mash the fruit with a potato masher to help squeeze out the juice, but this will result in more pulp (and possibly seeds) in your juice.
- When you are finished, feed the left over pulp/skins/seeds to your chickens, if you have them; add it to your compost pile; or dispose of it.
- When you are ready to drink your juice, you may add water and sweetener to taste.
The Steam Juicing Process
Don't Waste the Pulp
I think a steam juicer would make wonderful apple juice. But I have not been able to convince myself to make any. I hate the thought of wasting all that apple pulp. I would rather make applesauce and preserves to take advantage of as much of the fruit as possible.
You can use your juice to make jelly as well. In a separate pan, add pectin and cook it to the jelly point. Let me know in the comments if you try this, if you have used a steam juicer and what kind of juice you like to make with it!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Amanda Buck