October 5, 2012

We took Louie on his birthday trip. (He shares a birthday with Dennis.)

The three of us in a packed car, the bike on top, drove to Martha’s Vineyard. We visited my friend Katrin’s ancient cottage, built in 1680, where I have had many meaningful times in our multi-decade friendship. This is not a photo of her cottage (below.)

Dennis has been there a few times, too, but not for two years, when we escaped during our renovation, when Louie was a brand new member of the family.

We walked in Oak Bluffs among the cottages.

We wandered to the Edgartown Lighthouse.

We walked barefoot on Katama Beach where Louie chased sticks and dug up clamshells. It was a good time away.

For Dennis’ birthday, I made a giant brown butter pastry pop tart, inspired by Abby Dodge’s #BakeTogether for September. I just have to share the gorgeous pastry and this easy project. It’s the easiest thing in the world if you happen to have spiced apples on the shelf (if you don’t, and want to, now is the perfect time to can a few pints. Here’s the recipe link.)

Abby’s brown butter pastry is fantastic and caramel-y and rich. With the all-ready apple filling in a jar, carried up to MV, I knew I could get this pastry on the table. Finding some large crystal sanding sugar on Katrin’s shelf? That was a bonus.

Now we’re home and I’m a little under the weather (my sinus infection married my allergies) but there is still so much preserving to do before the season is over. I decided to make my life easier. I bought myself a new toy.

Meet my steam juicer. This is the way it works.

Get a box of grapes.

Pile in the washed fruit, stem and seeds and all.

Put water in the bottom portion. About 5″ deep, 2/3rds full. Get it boiling, then turn down the heat to medium high.

When the steam comes through the fruit, start your clock. It takes between 45 and 60 minutes of serious steaming to suck the life out of  grapes, leaving skins, stems and seeds behind.

Eight quarts of grapes makes one gallon of very concentrated juice.

Stream the juice into jars via genius tube that runs from middle (juice collecting) section. This requires a lunatic set up to get the jars at the right height. (Any of you experienced juicers have a hint about set up? This is crazy and kinda Rube Goldberg, right?)

Process in a waterbath 15 minutes.

Voila. I am in love. I’m sure I’ll work out the kinks.

Apple juice. Pear juice. Cranberry juice. Try and stop me.

16 Responses to “life”

  1. Elyse Tager

    Happy Birthday to Dennis and Louis. What could be better then an adult poptart!

  2. Jayne

    Wasn’t Abby’s#baketogether pastry amazing? Love your big pie! Gosh that contraption is awesome, but a little scary!!

  3. Janis

    Ohmygod! Where do I get that contraption. I NEED that contraption. No wonder you silently mocked me through my ordeal!

    Love your handpies and your trip looks wonderful.


  4. Janis

    Ohmygod! Where do I get that contraption. I NEED that contraption. No wonder you silently mocked me through my ordeal!

    Love your handpies and your trip looks wonderful.


  5. Philip B

    Though I’ve never used one of these, I don’t think the juice drip should be complicated. The free end of the tube just needs to be lower than the outlet. I’d collect all the juice (on the stove) with the free end plugged shut (bend it once and secure with a rubber band). Then move the whole shebang next to the sink, and put your jar in the sink. Undo the rubber band and drain.

    • Cathy

      Yes, that would make sense except that the jars get really hot, and need to be transported back to the stove, to the canning pot…

  6. Cathy

    I’ve put a link to the steamer in my Amazon store. It’s the smaller size – 9-1/2 quarts – which works for us, and is about the size of a large pasta pot.

  7. Susan

    I miss Louis. And yeah, I ordered the steamer juicer. I’ll let you know how that works out.

  8. Catherine

    When using mine for jelly making, I let the juice drain into a single pot so that it is an even concentration throughout. I found the juice tends to be more diluted at the end of the steaming process. (Although, I might just be cheap, trying to get every last drop out of my fruit.)


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