Berrybusy - strainer on stovetop instead of oven?

2ajsmamaOctober 27, 2010

Hi, I was just wondering if your method of using a strainer to hold the fruit to steam it to extract the juice might work on the range instead of oven? I have a pasta pot with a strainer and a lid. I don't have a large roaster and don't want to experiment with my only colander in the oven. I've got to use up the last of these quinces.

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Hmmm... As much as I'd like to say yes, I don't think using a pot with a strainer on the stovetop would work. You see, if you look at the diagrams of a steam juicer (the listings on Amazon offer diagrams), you will see it has three levels: a pot for fruit, a pot to collect the juice and a pot where the water is boiled to create the steam that cooks the fruit. Using only two pots, you'd end up boiling not just water, but your juice as well. And be well on your way to jelly! Instead, the idea seems to be to have an indirect heat source to cook the fruit and release the fruit juices for collection. You're combining the fruit cooking time and the straining time. Perhaps you have an electric roaster? Or would your pasta pot work in the oven? Maybe the pasta pot could be elevated slightly in your water bath canner and cover that all with foil? ...I don't know, I'm just tossing out ideas here.

It doesn't help at the moment, but keep an eye out or have someone else keep an eye out at the thrift store or estate sales for a graniteware roaster, If you think that's what you want to try some other time. Heh, I inherited my big one from my grandmother and the almost as big one came from the thrift store, about 5-6 dollars.

And congrats on your acceptance into the farming program. It's neat to hear about other folks who keep the land in the family over several generations. Also good to learn about opportunities to look into. Good luck with your quince.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 1:09AM
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Oh, I didn't think of mixing the boiling water and juice. That doesn't happen in the roaster? I thought you said you added water to get the steam going, and I know you mentioned that if the heat was too high you'd end up boiling the juice and it would gel.

My pasta pot is the same diameter as my "canner" (stockpot) so i can't fit it inside. And the pasta strainer doesn't have feet, plus it's too big in diameter for any of my baking pans so can't use it in the oven.

Let's see - I do have a Corningware bowl with a flat bottom that will fit on the rack in the stockpot - put the pasta strainer over that and water in the bottom? May have to elevate the bowl so it's not sitting in the boiling water. May lose some juice from edges of pasta strainer overlapping the bowl, but the bowl might catch most of it.

Sounds like I need a "triple boiler"?

Thanks for the help, and the congrats.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 9:34AM
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I only add about a cup of water as a "starter" when using the roaster. You'd need much more I think if you intend to keep steam going on the stovetop, but it sounds like you're working on a solution. Good luck finding what works for you.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 10:48AM
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I'm going to try to put the pasta strainer in a Dutch oven in the oven. Haven't had time today, been working on DD's Halloween costume for school tomorrow.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2010 at 2:30PM
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OK, I put a cup of water in the Dutch oven, put the pasta strainer on top with a piece of linen, then quartered quinces. Covered the strainer with the pasta pot lid - doesn't fit tightly, but it's covered. It didn't seem to be doing anything after a couple of hours on 225, so I poured 2/3C of water on top of the quinces, turned it up to 250 for an hour while I was home, turned it down to 225 when I went back out, now 3 hrs later I can smell the quinces, they look "baked" and are softening, the linen is stained/scorched a little on the edges I didn't dampen sticking out of the pot, but the water in the Dutch oven still looks like water, not juice.

How long should I leave this in, and how high should I turn it up? I don't want the cloth to catch on fire, or get heat rainbows on my SS pot/strainer.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 3:32PM
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Well, I hope something worked out for you yesterday. I have no experience with quinces so I really can't help you much that way. After the fruit was softened, did you press it to extract juices? Also I know you said your strainer was covered, but the enrite "contraption" was covered tight right?

I hope you ended up with something useful for your efforts.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 11:31AM
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I left it in the oven with the oven on low for about 12 hrs, then turned the oven off overnight. Got about 2C of juice (I didn't weigh the quinces but it was probably 6lb or so). I took the contraption and poured 2C of water over the quinces, boiled it on the stove for an hour, got 2 more cups of looks like dark juice, just repeating now. I hope to end up with 6C of pectin-rich juice (will do alcohol test tomorrow) to make jelly.

The juice looks clear when hot but what came out of the oven this AM wasn't really clear - I'll strain again tomorrow b4 testing pectin. But I think I might have gotten more juice for less effort by simply simmering the quinces. May work wonderfully for berries, but I think the quinces are just too hard/not juicy enough for this method.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 11:42AM
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