Last month, I decided to add my juicer to the pile of stuff headed out in our next yard sale. I hadn’t used it in ages. Then, I started working on my crabapple jelly recipe, and I came across an old forum thread deep in the recesses of the Interwebs where someone mentioned using their juicer to make jelly. Could you do that? Suddenly my juicer seemed interesting again.
So, my husband unearthed my juicer from the yard sale pile, and I got busy experimenting. Turns out you can make jelly in a juicer, and it can be a huge time-saver. Let me show you how I did it, and what I learned.
As I mentioned, I was working on a crabapple jelly recipe at the time. That normally involves quartering a billion crabapples (time consuming), and then heating them on the stove with a bit of water to extract their juice. I wanted to see if I could accomplish the same thing by feeding the crabapples into my juicer whole.
And I was really excited to see that I actually got more juice out of the crabapples this way – with no knife work required. If you look closely at the juice that I extracted, you’ll see a thick layer of foam at the top …
I skimmed it off, just like I would when extracting juice on the stove. Then, I proceeded with my crabapple jelly recipe as usual. If you care about having perfectly clear jelly, you’ll probably want to run it through a jelly strainer first, just to remove any remaining fruit bits. It wasn’t important to me, so I skipped that step, and finished up my batch of jelly.
And I have to tell you: I feel like I got away with something. I can’t believe I made crabapple jelly without ever picking up a knife.
Alright, so now that you know how to make jelly with a juicer, let’s go over some of the pros and cons that I encountered along the way.
- Minimal prep work – If you’re working with something small, like crabapples, you don’t even have to chop them up first (provided they don’t have big pits/seeds)
- Straining your juice is optional – The juicer removes the skins and seeds for you, so you don’t have to worry about removing those from your finished juice. If you want perfectly clear jelly, you can quickly run the juice through a jelly strainer
- Good at extracting juice from hard fruits – You can use a juicer to juice any type of fruit, but it seems to do an especially good job on apples, pears and the like
- The juicer won’t extract as much pectin – Pectin is a natural substance found in fruit that helps jelly to gel. When you use heat to extract juice, it draws pectin out of the fruit skins. Since a juicer separates the skins out, you won’t benefit from this source of pectin. That’s not a big deal with most fruits, since they already require you to add pectin for proper gel. But, if you’re making apple or crabapple jelly recipe (that doesn’t call for pectin), you may find you need to add some
- You won’t be able to make fruit butter with the pulp – When you extract your juice on the stove, you can use the leftover pulp to make fruit butter. Getting two products out of one batch of fruit is a great deal. While you can compost your juicer pulp, you won’t be able to make anything else with it