No preserve closet is complete without a good supply of fruit juice, stored to use for jelly making, for desserts, or for beverages. Many housekeepers make their fruit juices in season, and instead of spending their time in the kitchen when it is fine weather, leave jelly making until cold or stormy days. Some housekeepers, too, prefer their jelly made fresh, and keep on hand a generous supply of fruit juices, which can be made up into jelly as needed, six or eight glasses at a time.

Apple, blackberry, cherry, currant, grape, raspberry, and strawberry juice can be used in a variety of ways other than in jelly making. Nothing is more palatable on a hot day than a cold drink which can be made easily from bottled fruit juice. The addition of cracked ice, a slice of lemon, and sugar or syrup to taste, makes an inviting beverage, served in place of the customary afternoon tea. Economical desserts, also, such as sherbets and a variety of gelatine dishes, may be made from fruit juices.

Use the same care in selecting and washing fruits and berries for making fruit juices that you would for preserving or jelly making. Green or unripe fruit is not desirable, since its acidity is too great, while over-ripe fruit imparts a disagreeable flavor to the juice. Therefore it is important to choose only ripe, perfect fruit, if a first quality fruit juice is desired.

Extract the juice from the berries or fruit as if jelly were to be made, page 42. In heating the fruit, always use a porcelain or agate kettle, adding just enough water to keep from burning. Crush with a wooden masher, and when hot throughout put into the jelly bag to drip. Do not let the fruit boil before removing from the fire. Heating the fruit increases the yield of juice, and gives a better flavor and color to the product. Never add sugar to fruit juice which is to be made into jelly. It may be used in juices stored for beverages, desserts, etc., but with no special advantage.

Bottling

Pour the fruit juice which has dripped from the jelly bag into sterilized bottles or jars, to within one inch of top. (Boil the bottles or jars for ten minutes before adding the fruit juice, since it is not to be sterilized.) The space between the juice and the top of the bottles allows for expansion when the juice is hot.

Have new corks to fit the bottles, soaking in warm soda water (a teaspoon of soda to a quart of water) for thirty minutes. Rinse well in boiling water before using. Put the corks loosely in the bottles before putting them into the hot water bath. A piece of cloth tied over the cork will keep it in place and prevent its blowing out during the processing. If juices are stored in jars, fill to one-half inch of the top, adjust rubber, cap, and seal lightly.

The Processing

Fruit juices are pasteurized rather than sterilized. This means that the temperature of the hot water bath should be kept below boiling, or just at the simmering point. The wash boiler can be used in pasteurizing as well as in sterilizing. Be sure to put racks in the bottom of the boiler before putting in bottles or jars.

Have the water in the boiler come to within one inch of the top of the bottles or jars. Heat the water quickly, and keep simmering for twenty minutes. Do not begin to count the time until the water is seen to be at the simmering point. No harm is done if the water boils for a minute or two, but the juice has a better color if the bath is kept just below the boiling point.

The Sealing

Remove the bottles or jars from the container, and if bottles are used, press the corks firmly in as far as they will go, and set aside to cool. When the bottles are cool, dip the cork and end of the neck of the bottle into melted paraffin, to make an air-tight seal.

If jars are used, seal completely, in the usual way.

A white sediment will sometimes form in the bottom of the bottle or jar. This does not indicate that the juice has spoiled; simply that acid crystals have settled. In jelly making, care should be used, in pouring juice from the bottle, that this sediment is not disturbed; otherwise the jelly will not be clear.

For those who wish to bottle fruit juice for commercial purposes, Miss Ola Powell's "Successful Canning and Preserving" is recommended.

All fruit juices are made and bottled in the same general way, and it will not be necessary for the housewife to have detailed directions to follow for each kind of fruit. Directions for strawberry juice are given in full, as a guide for the other fruit juices.