Apple pie, applesauce, apple crumble, apple butter – whether you’re apple-picking or just stocking up at the supermarket, ’tis very much the season. But what about apple juice? Ubiquitous as it is, it’s never been a home-kitchen staple. Unlike soft citrus fruits that can be squeezed by hand or with a simple tool, apples require a proper cold-press juicer… or do they?
Food52 has a trick from chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski’s cookbook, State Bird Provisions, for making apple juice by hand – and feeling a bit like the Hulk in the process.
If you freeze your apples for eight hours, then defrost them fully – for about three hours – they will be soft enough to juice by hand.
This is all thanks to the fact that water expands when it freezes. In fruits and other plant matter, the expansion of ice bursts the plant cell walls, making defrosted fruits pretty mushy. Usually this is a challenge for freezing produce, but when the goal is soft, squeezable fruit, it’s a perfect shortcut.
It might not taste exactly like the apple juice you get from the store. Brioza and Krasinski write, “The resulting liquid has an intense, concentrated flavour, the sweetness and tartness heightened.” But that sounds pretty dang good to me.