f your household is anything like mine, you have probably purchased more apple juice than you might want to admit. When you have kids in the home, apple juice is a grocery list staple. But what if I told you it is practically FREE to make your own homemade apple juice? Crazy right?

Using Apple Scraps for Homemade Apple Juice

When I was planning my canning schedule during the apple season, I wanted to make apple juice, but when I searched for recipes I wasn’t a fan of how many fresh apples you needed and how wasteful it was. Many canners use their scraps to make apple butter or apple jelly, but since we aren’t a family that eats those types of preserves, I was looking for something else to use the scraps for.

When I started my first batch of Homemade apple sauce as I was boiling the apples in the water, I tasted the water. It tasted just like apple juice but a little bit diluted. This gave me an idea. What if I saved the water from the apple sauce and added it to the cores and peels I had in a bowl from slicing the apples for the apple sauce? So that’s exactly what I did. I saved all of the apple cores and peels, as well as the water from the process of making apple sauce to make apple juice. In my mind, this is free apple juice since the apple discards would go in the compost and the water would be strained down the drain.

If you don’t want to make apple juice from your apple scraps you can also make apple jelly! We started making this cinnamon apple jelly for Christmas gifts!

What Apples are The Best For Making Apple Juice?

Most sweet apples are the best apple varieties for making the best tasting apple juice. Stay away from tart apples such as crab apples. These apples won’t have as much juice and lack the sweetness needed. 

The best apples to make homemade apple juice has balance of sweetness and tartness. Some apple varieties are better suited for juicing than others. Depending on what variety of apple you have, the taste of your apple juice will vary. Here are some of the most common apples for making homemade apple juice:

  1. Jonagold: These apples are known for their sweet and slightly tart flavor, making them a popular choice for apple juice.
  2. Gala: Gala apples are sweet and have a mild, pleasant flavor, which can result in a very tasty juice.
  3. Fuji: Fuji apples are sweet and have a crisp texture, making them a great choice for juice.
  4. Honeycrisp: Honeycrisp apples are both sweet and slightly tart, and their juice is known for its well-balanced flavor.
  5. Granny Smith: If you prefer a more tart juice, Granny Smith apples are a good option. They can be used in combination with sweeter apples to balance the flavor.
  6. Pink Lady: These apples are sweet and slightly tart, resulting in a pleasant juice with a hint of acidity.
  7. Braeburn: Braeburn apples offer a nice balance of sweetness and tartness and can be used for juice.

Why Make Your Own Apple Juice?

Who doesn’t love saving money, and no waste? When we buy apple juice from the grocery store I always try to buy the one in the large tin can. That apple juice tastes more authentic and less factory processed. This recipe is as close to that as you can get! Knowing that you are making freshly hand-picked apples into apple sauce and juice is so rewarding. With a little more effort you can water-bath can your very own natural apple juice and enjoy it for months.

Ingredients for This Apple Juice Recipe:

  1. 14 pounds of apples or apple discards
  2. sugar
  3. water (water from boiled apples)

What You Need:

  1. Apple Peeler
  2. Canning Kit and Water Bath Canner
  3. Mason Jars and Lids
  4. Canning Funnel
  5. Stock Pot

How to Make Homemade Apple Juice

So these steps will vary with your situation, but I will tell you exactly what I did to make this homemade apple juice.

  1. If you aren’t using the water from a previous apple recipe, start by boiling water in a large pot.
  2. Set smaller stock pots out on your table and even the inserts for crock pots and fill them 3/4 of the way with the cores and peels from the apples.
  3. Once finished with the boiled water from your apple sauce, carefully add the water into the pots until the discards are just covered with water. Cover with a lid, and let sit for 2-3 hours.
  4. After they have sat for a hour or so, add 2-5 cups of hot water to each pot and stir. Let sit for another hour or so.
  5. Strain all pots into a large stock pot with a strainer and cheesecloth to keep the apple pulp out.
  6. Bring to a boil, and add sugar to taste until the sugar dissolves. Boil for 20-30 minutes.
  7. In the meantime get your water bath canner ready.

Note: If you want clear apple juice let the hot juice cool. Place the large pot in the fridge to allow the apple sediment to settle on the bottom of the pot. After 24 hours, heat the fruit juice back up on the stovetop, DO NOT STIR! You will want to carefully ladle the juice into the canning jars ensuring not to disturb the sediment on the bottom of the pot.

How to Can Homemade Apple Juice

  1. Start by washing your canning jars, lids, bands, and canning tools in hot soapy water, and rinse well. Set aside to air dry on a clean kitchen towel.
  2. Add your glass jars to the water bath canner. Bring the canner to a simmer (180˚F) for 10 minutes, and keep the jars hot until you are ready to fill them
  3. Lay a kitchen towel on the counter. Use your jar lifter to remove the hot jars from the canner, drain, and place it on the towel. Keep the remaining jars in the canner, so they stay hot.
  4. Using a ladle and funnel, add the apple juice to your warm jars leaving a 1/2-inch headspace.
  5. Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp towel. Center a lid on the jar, and screw on the band until it is fingertip tight. Do NOT overtighten.
  6. Use the jar lifter to place the full jars back into the canner, and repeat with the remaining jars. Try to leave some space in between the jars.
  7. Once the jars are all in the canner, adjust the water level so it is at least two inches of water above the tops of the jars.
  8. Cover the canner and bring to a full rolling boil over medium-high heat. Once the water boils continue boiling your quart jars for 30 minutes for altitudes of less than 6,000 ft. Adjust processing time for your altitude if necessary.
  9. When the processing time is complete, turn off the heat, remove the cover, and let the canner cool down and settle for about 5 minutes.
  10. Lay a dry kitchen towel on the counter and begin removing the jars full of the hot juice carefully from the canner, placing them on the towel.. Keep the jars upright, and don’t tighten bands or check the seals yet. Let the jars sit undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours to cool to room temperature.
  11. After the jars have cooled for at least 12 hours, check to be sure the jar lids have been sealed by pushing on the center of the lid. The lid should not pop up. If the lid pops up and down, it did not seal. Refrigerate the applesauce and use it within a week.
  12. Remove the bands and wash the jars well with warm soapy water to remove any residue. Label, date, and store in a cool, dark place. Use within 12 to 18 months. Refrigerate the apple juice once opened and consume it within a week.
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