April is a good time to start preparing for the coming season of fresh fruits and vegetables and all the happy hours of juicing and steaming to come with the Mehu-Liisa steam juicer from Finland. Here are five suggested tasks (with links to previous posts and informational sites):
1 – Start using up your excess frozen fruit to make room in the freezer for the coming harvest.
You can steam-juice frozen fruit just as you do fresh. There is no need to thaw the fruit before processing.
2 – Defrost and clean your freezer.
Now that you have room in the freezer, it’s time to give it a defrosting and cleaning in preparation for the new season. Read up on good freezer practices with Michigan State University and the University of Georgia.
3 – Inspect your jars, lids, rings, and bands.
Go through your stock of canning jars and look for cracks or chips on the rims. Recycle if necessary or put to alternate use. Look for dents and dings on canning lids and bands. These can interfere with proper sealing at canning time. Inspect the sealing compound on all lids (these are recommended to be used only once) and look for cracks or wear and tear on your reusable bands. Discard anything that looks compromised. There is no sense using questionable gear if it is going to fail and ruin your hard work! Here is an excellent post from Grow a Good Life on preparing for canning season.
4 – Clean your Mehu-Liisa steam juicer.
Now is the time to give your Mehu-Liisa that TLC it’s been needing since that epic 12 hour apple juicing rampage you went on last fall. Be sure to use nonscratch cleaners. Finishing off the exterior with a vinegar wipe down really makes the unit shine. Drying with paper towels reduces water spots. Pick up a line cleaning brush from your local home brewing store for cleaning out the drain tube. Here are two interesting posts on cleaning stainless steel: Vinegar and oil for exterior cleaning. I would not use this preparation on the inside of the juicer because of the oil content. Bob Vila gives a detailed explanation that highlights the don’ts of stainless steel maintenance.
5 – Start thinking about rhubarb!
Yes, that’s right. It’s just around the corner. Rhubarb season will be here before you can roll a pie crust. There are so many wonderful ways to use this early, charismatic “fruit.” Here are a couple of links to get the juices flowing: Strawberry Rhubarb Processing with the Mehu-Liisa Steam Juicer and Rhubarb Simple Syrup.
Well, I hope I’ve given you some inspiration to keep busy with this weekend. Let me know if you have any questions, tips, or recipes you’d like to share.