Well, maybe you feel a little longing when you look at photos of lots of your friends in a city where you used to live. You see their beautiful children, and the making an event of a day pressing apples, fruit that they’ve grown in orchards they’ve planted with love. Everybody’s pitching in and working toge ther and it’s a productive food-preparation idyll there in suburban Oxford.
(Thanks Hugh Warwick for these wonderful photos.)
Well, maybe you don’t live there anymore, but you find yourself in a small market town in mid-Wales with all those windfalls that your neighbour leaves out in plastic bags for people to take These windfalls have ever-growing brown spots and require a lot of knife-ly preparation and might feel a bit like a chore, actually.
And you’ve made a bunch of crumbles but you are inspired by the idea of juice. You remember that your husband bought a semi-effective electric juicer at a car-boot sale, and decide to juice to make Apple Cider Vinegar because the apples are slightly under-ripe and not so sweet which might be ok for fresh juice but the ACV seems like a way to preserve for the future.
You juice the apples in the machine, bits of liquid and pulp fly all over, but most of the juice you’ve collected is poured into a bottle with plenty of natural sugars; As it sits, it will become alcoholic, and after it becomes alcoholic, it will become vinegar, if exposed to air. So you will open the cap and shake periodically (also to release pent up gasses). You don’t even need a Mother, that jelly-yeasty botanical creature one finds in older vinegars. But if you have one, you could throw her in.
Then you look at the pulp in the juicer. “My God,” you think, “What a waste to throw all that out.” Yet you realise you have so much Scrap Vinegar in your stock. So you think about Kvass as you are coming to understand it, so inspired by Rebecca Wood In the summer you made Pear Kvass and DIY V8® Kvass and Rhubarb Kvass and you are always making Beetroot Kvass, lately adding scraps of other vegetables like celeriac and parsley stems. You’ve come to realise that Kvasses at their most simply understood are lightly fermented fruit/vegetable infusions (and a traditional one of black bread, to be blogged soon).
So you take that mass of apple pulp from the juicer and put it in a big jar, and cover it with water, and a little sugar if one likes which you didn’t feel was needed this time. You let the pulp infuse the water with apple flavour for a few days, and when you taste the pulp, it’s bland and without flavour. You strain out the fibre and get an apple perfumed liquid, which you bottle and then screw on the cap, for light effervescence and some happy beneficial, pro-biotic bacteria for your Second Brain the Gut, and drink a day or two later.
And do beware, with any potion you’ve bottled and capped (as opposed to leaving exposed to air)– fermentation can get explosive, so check for carbonation and “burp” your potions until the process ceases (when sugars are used up, basically). For the kvass, this is the reason to drink it quickly. [Postscript: I didn’t do this, D’uh! with the juice I’m vinegarizing, and three days later I realise I prematurely bottled it, and lost half of it to oozing bubble.]
Tah-Dah! Apple Kvass, from juicer waste. And though you might not really be a juicer, you do hear peeps who do juice wondering what to do with all that material in the machine? Well, why not make kvasses as secondary beverages? One more food use before the compost pile.