Apple juice season

Apple juice season

Turn your surplus apples into delicious apple juice by using a small fruit press or blender to extract the juice before drinking fresh or freezing.

Autumn is a great time to plant new apple trees, and you’ll find trees to fit even the smallest garden here at the garden centre in Leighton Buzzard. If you don’t have room for a full-sized tree, train an espalier or cordon against a fence or wall for zero-space apple production. You can even grow apples if you don’t have a garden at all: apples on dwarf rootstocks such as M9 are perfectly happy in a 60cm container.

Any apple tree, even dwarf varieties, become prolific once they reach maturity and you’re bound to have more apples than you can possibly eat at once. You can store some in boxes in the shed, but this is only suitable for perfect specimens. For windfalls, juicing is a much better option - in fact once you realise how wonderful home-made apple juice tastes you’ll be begging extra apples from your neighbours’ trees as well!

As a general rule, 2.5kg of apples – about a large supermarket carrier bag full - makes about a litre of apple juice. You can process a small number of apples in a kitchen juicer – just right for your morning treat over breakfast. But to produce larger quantities for freezing, you’ll need a small fruit press.

Give the fruit a wash, removing rotten fruit and any debris, and cut into pieces – there’s no need to peel. Crush them with the end of a broom handle, then feed this crushed pulp into the fruit press. Wind down the press slowly, collecting the juice in a clean bucket. Pour it through a sieve, and funnel into clean bottles. Either keep it in the fridge and drink fresh within three days, or freeze until you need it.

You might also be interested in:

Planting Clematis

Plant clematis now to make the most of the warmth still lingering in the air and the soil. This means they have plenty of time to get their roots down before winter ready for a really good performance next year.

How to protect non-hardy plants?

Start moving non-hardy plants under glass now long before they can be hit by frosts. You can keep half-hardy exotic lovelies going from year to year as long as you can keep them reasonably dry over winter: the long list includes fuchsias and geraniums, plus Mexican salvias, diascias and tender herbs like lemon verbena.

Help saving trees!

Leading gardener Alan Titchmarsh is urging gardeners to join a campaign to save trees at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, under threat because of a road-widening scheme.

Some bulb advice

A smattering of colour in the lawn is a welcome sight in spring, and many bulbs are quite happy to grow among the grass, seeding themselves freely into quite extensive colonies in time.