So it's autumn again already, and it looks like there is an average crop of apples and pears out there nearing picking time.
How to tell if an apple or pear is ripe? Try taking its weight in your hand and gently lifting it on its stalk; if it comes off it's yours, if it doesn't it's not ready yet. If you cut an apple in half round its equator and its seeds are dark brown to black then it is ripe.
The Waitati Open Orchards (WOO) group, have had a genius called Paul build them a steampunk-styled apple press. This wondrous machine will be operating at the final harvest market between 10-12 on Sunday morning, April 15. Do bring along your own apple and pear harvest, and maybe some clean bottles so you can take home some delicious juice to drink or to make cider. This is a WOO fundraiser to help us care for our existing street-side orchards, and maybe plant some walnuts. Lucky us.
You can preserve apple juice (or any juice) by processing using the water bath method:
- Place juice in sterilised glass bottles leaving a 2-3cm head space. The bottles to use are the ones with metal lids which have rubber seals inside them (as used for blackcurrant or lemon and barley water syrups from the supermarket).
- Boil the lids for a few minutes to soften the seals and screw them lightly onto the bottles. Place the bottles on a trivet in a big, deep pot. You can sit them on folded dish clothes and pack them round with tea towels to stop them falling over or banging against each other too much.
- Fill the pot with water so the bottles are sitting as deeply up the necks as you can without overflowing the pot. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Remove bottles and tighten the lids. You will hear the seals pop down as they cool. If properly sealed they will keep for up to a year in a cool dark place, but refrigerate after opening.
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