Vitamin C for the Winter

16 10 2007

Although I take 1000mg Vitamin C supplement every morning, I prefer to get my vitamins from food sources. In winter this can be a bit trickier since our local fresh fruits tend to be limited to apples. This is one good reason for squirreling away summer’s berries and rose hips. Broccoli, carrots and kale are other fresh sources during Skagit’s winters.

Steam juicer

One of my favorite tools for processing large amounts of fruit relatively easily is a contraption called a steam-juicer. They’re simple to use and indispensable if you want to make large quantities of juice concentrate or like to make jellies without cranking your arm off with a food mill. I love using them for apples since I don’t yet have a cider press. 🙂 I just chunk the apples leaving cores, peels and stems on and in about an hour or so, I have freshly steamed apple juice and a mass of pulp for the compost.

Bottled juice concentrate

I always process all my juices without sugar so I can sweeten them for jelly, juice or wine as required later. My favorite bottles are saline irrigation continers from the hospital since they freeze well and are nicely square. Since they’re only lightly used and made of polypropylene, I get a bit of feel-good recycling out of the deal. I have also juiced into quart jars and then canned the results.

This batch was ~25 lbs. of blue elderberries that we picked on our way home from Eastern Washington. I hope to get an opportunity to pick rose hips sometime soon. The steam-juicer makes processing of those much easier since you don’t have to work so hard to remove the hairy choke. Maybe I can even beg some grapes off one of our wonderful local wineries …




5 responses

19 10 2007

The wild blue elders are so prolific! Most red elders in this neck of the woods, and they can be borderline toxic of you don’t process them right. Our European elders aren’t very happy here. We’ll be planting some wild blues (Burnt Ridge Nursery is a great source) this spring. I had one in Seattle that went from a $2 “stick”, to a 15ft tall yard-octopus in one season. So many berries! And makes yummy jelly too.

19 10 2007
Dark Days Challenge - Week #1 Recap « Urban Hennery

[…] sources if you didn’t grow your own. In an impressive show of skill she also made juice from 25 lbs. of blue elderberries using her steam juicer – […]

24 10 2007

I did the same thing with my steam juicer this year! (In fact I purchased it because elderberries are such a pain to juice) I see that you left some stems in. I was tempted to do this but have read about stems & leaves containing toxins. Do you know if the toxins can get in to the juice? I would rather steam them w/stems included next year but am a bit cautious about it. What do you think?

BTW I love elderberry juice! My husband hates it, but I make him take a drink every day as it is a flu preventative & cure.

24 10 2007

Hi Crystal! I leave only the berry stems (corymbs) and make sure there are no leaves or bark. I base this on the fact that you can find several recipes for elderflower fritters. There one actually eats the berry stems. 🙂

Also the cyanogenic glycoside in the raw fruit is destroyed by cooking. Many other fruits such as almonds, peaches, apples, etc. contain small amounts of similar toxins.

Bitter almond, in particular, is one that has restricted availability due to its hydrocyanic acid. It disappears upon cooking as well, but marzipan and other products are required to have less than 25ppm and bulk sweet almonds can only contain up to 5% bitter almonds. We have to stay safe after all. 😉

I love the juice too. It has a great herbal flavor in addition to its berryness. I’ll be passing it out this winter during flu season too! A little medicinal brandy in it might make it go down easier.

20 11 2008
Suzanne Jordan

Heat seems to destroy much of the vitamin C content in plants. The way I preserve my plants/berries to retain the vitamin C is by either an extraction with vinegar or honey. No heating required. A person can simply juice the berries and freeze as well.

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