If you were lucky enough to have parents or grandparent who lived in the country, and who had an orchard or access to fruit, maybe you remember the massive steam juicers that would boil away all day long to make delicious fruit cordials, for drinking and for making fruit jellies and conserves.
Steam juicers are quite an old concept, and althought they still rely on the same principle, they have come a long way over the years.
These juicers work by forcing heated steam over fresh fruits or even vegetables, causing them to slowly cook, break open, and release naturally sweet juice that is collected in a specally designed pan. The collected juice can be poured off continually, using a built in spout or tap.
The great advantage a steam juicer has is that it produces juice that is quite sterile due to the heating action of the steam. This means it can be bottled, and if this is done correctly, the juice can be stored for long periods without being refrigerated or otherwise preserved. We used to keep apple and cherry juice for several years this way!
Modern steam juicers may be either self contained units that you can just plug into a power point and allow to run, or more traditional style ones that still require to be placed on a hot plate to boil. Of course in the old days, the steam juicer would just sit on the wood stove where it could simmer all day long. If your lifestyle still allows this then good for you, and keep the art alive!
Even in the modern household a juicer is not out of place, especially if someone in the family has allergies or intolerances to preservatives or artificial colours and flavours. Commercially produced juices ALWAYS contain preservatives (don’t believe otherwise. How else do they have 3+ year shelf lives?) and nearly always have artificial colours and flavours.
Adding sugar to juice is a matter of personal preference, just keep in mind that less is better. A good alternative is to add some sweet fruit to less sweet, such as adding several sugary pears to a batch of not so sweet apples. Your juicer recipes really are your own though, so experiment and find what works for you. The great thing is that with your own juicer you can make any combunation you like. Apples, plums, cherries, nectarines and peaches are just a few that work really well. With a steam juicer anyone can make healthy juice at home using nothing but clean water and fresh produce, better juice for the whole family.