Summer is a time of bounty, when the plants that spring from the earth share with us their bright and flavorful riches. Summer is also the time when my local grocer offers discounted fruits and vegetables, packaged at the peak of ripeness and needing to be sold immediately.
Yesterday morning I decided to finally do something with those many packages of strawberries and blueberries sitting in my refrigerator. Typically I make jam with such fruit, but lately I've been experimenting with homemade wines, so I decided to make juice from them using a Saftborn steam juicer I bought at a second-hand store last year for 10 Euros (!).
After washing and cleaning the fruit I threw all the berries into the perforated juicer basket, filled the bottom pan with water, assembled everything, and turned on the heat. I also happened to have a ripe papaya and mango sitting around, so at the last minute I threw in these as well. If you want to sweeten your juice, just sprinkle however much sugar you want to add right on top of the raw fruit.
|Fruit with a little sugar sprinkled on top|
The water comes to a boil after 10 minutes and the steam heats up and permeates the fruit. Around 10 minutes later the fruit begins release their juices, which drips down through a tube into a heat resistant container. I chose tempered glass—a large Pyrex mixing bowl.
At first the juice just trickles down, but the flow increases after a short while. It's a good idea to stir the fruit in the basket once or twice during the cooking process. A word of caution: make sure the bottom pan does not boil dry!
At the end the flow of juice will again reduce to a trickle. Tipping the juicer forward very slightly and carefully (it's full of boiling water and steaming hot fruit!) gets out that last bit of juice.
|Fruit mash after juicing. Good for making fruit leather!|
When the juice was cool, I poured it into bottles for storage in the refrigerator...
...and enjoyed a few sips of this delicious, nutritious treat for myself!
The consistency resembled that of syrup, and the taste was the perfect combination of familiar and exotic.
"Now I want my own steam juicer!"
I don't blame you! In North America they're still available for purchase by various online vendors but otherwise tough to find. Here are two available from Lehman's, who I like supporting because they offer all sorts of neat, old-fashioned items for the household:
10 1/2 Quart Stainless Steel Steam Juice
8 1/4 Quart Stainless Steel Steam Juicer
Steam Juicers are much more common in Germany, where I've seen them in kitchen specialty stores and even department stores. You can also buy them online at amazon.de by entering the search term Dampfentsafter.
Just so you know, this method has the advantage of creating a nearly sterile juice that will last much longer in storage, but from a nutrition standpoint, cold pressing methods of creating juice will preserve more of the fruits' nutrients.