pressing the juice out of blackberries

Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, ALMay 7, 2013

I vowed last year to ask the brilliant folks here about this before I wasted more berry bulk this year. With ordinary kitchen stuff, how can I more effectively press the juice out of the berries, separating it from the seeds? Using a sturdy spoon to mush them in/against a wire mesh strainer seemed like not the most effective thing, and pretty rough on the strainer... I can't get my thinking out of that little box. Help please?!

I'd prefer to do it raw, but if it's insisted that cooking the berries first would help, I'll try it. Just trying to make a simply syrup by reduction of the juice.

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Try this out:

Use a hand mixer to "blend" the berries at low speed, then do exactly as what you have done before.

The mixer will break up the berries, making it much easier to squeeze out the juice with the strainer.

Please let us know if that works.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 6:10PM
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I've strained blackberries by doing just what you said. I mashed them with a spoon against a metal sieve. It works (with a fair amount of effort) if the berries are very ripe. If your berries are firm, you're better off giving them a brief puree in a food processor, then straining in a sieve.

Cooking definitely softens the berry pulp, making it easier to squish them but it also changes the flavor.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 8:36PM
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I agree, fresh taste different than cooked. I also give them a whirl in the blender or food processor then put them thought a sieve or food mill (one of the small hand cranked ones).


    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 8:59PM
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If it's a reduction you're after, aren't you cooking them anyway? If so, I'd cook it a bit first. Of course I may be totally missing the point, it's been known to happen!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:19PM
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I just put them thru my Foley food mill (ricer). Once thru the food mill, I might add a bit of water and warm on the stove, before putting thru the mill again. We have soooo many boysenberries, that I often just put them thru the mill and use the juice/pulp, but the pectin is in that part that is in or nearer the seeds...I think. And, I assumed that black berries are like boysen....sans thorns. But, I do love wild Blackberries...just can't pick them anymore.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:56PM
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I can tell you what NOT to do. The title of your post "pressing the juice out of blackberries" instantly brought back one of my most vivid childhood memories. I was about five years old.

My mother was given about a gallon of fresh blackberries and decided to make jelly. She got out a cookbook and it said to first mash them with a potato masher. Done.

Next step was to put them into a bag made from a double layer of cheesecloth. She didn't have any cheesecloth so decided to improvise by getting out her sewing machine and sewing the bottom of one of my dad's oldest and softest t-shirts shut across the hem. Bag made.

She poured the blackberry mash through the neck hole of the shirt and nserted a piece of broomstick through the sleeves. Then she steadied the bag over a clean pot centered in the kitchen sink while my dad stood on a kitchen chair and twisted the stick tighter and tighter while the blackberry juice began to flow into the pot. Success! I stood on another chair to watch the swollen t-shirt give up its bounty of berry juice.

With a final grunt, my dad gave the pole a 360 degree twist and all of a sudden, the entire front of the t-shirt bag split open, spewing dark purple berry juice and remnants all over the three of us and the kitchen from ceiling to floor. My dad cursed, my mother screamed, and I started to cry. Then we all looked at each other and burst out laughing. It took hours to clean up the mess, while our clothes were soaking in bleachy water. The jelly never got made, I sported purple streaks in my hair for about two weeks, and The Blackberry T-Shirt Incident came to reside in our family folklore forever.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:11AM
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OMG Ruthanna! What a story!

And I think FOAS has a good point, if you are making a reduction you will be cooking them anyway. Why not cook them first to soften the pulp?


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:31AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Ruthanna, thank you so much for taking the time to type that out! It's totally hilarious!!! What a sweet (pun intended) family memory!!

Thanks to all for the inputs! The house next door is abandoned, so there's like 1/4 acre of berries although I'm only picking the ones at the fringes. Not interested in trekking through knee-deep thorns, but the windfall of this expensive-to-buy treat is awesome.

I made a small batch of sauce last night to put on some pork chops and did cook the berries first. That seemed to make a good difference. I also think I was trying to do too much at a time before. That small batch went really well. The really thick stuff that came out just before I gave up was the best part - probably loaded with the pectin mentioned above.

Wouldn't putting them in the blender break up the seeds? The hand mixer sounds like a good idea. I don't have a rice mill.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:01AM
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You might want to consider investing in a juicer, especially if you get lots of blackberries. I did this because I used to have a passion vine that would make 60 to 80 passionfruit a day, and I wanted to extract the juice and get rid of the seeds. The juicer works extremely efficiently, and then you can also use the juicer to extract juice from a lot of other foods, such as carrots, celery, guava, pomegranates, etc.

If you really like juice, it is worth the investment to buy a good juicer. Black & Decker now makes a small affordable juicer that got good reviews. I think this would be perfect for your blackberries, since it accepts only small quantities at a time. The reviews say that the pulp comes out very dry, and that is not the case with my more expensive Juiceman juicer. In fact, I used to put the pulp back through for a second spin and got a lot more passionfruit juice that way.

Anyway, I think you would enjoy the convenience of a small dedicated juicer, and it really does save time.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 11:49AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Thanks so much for taking the time to share that! I can only fantasize that these vines would produce for a long enough period, or heavily enough that this would feel justified. Unfortunately, the berries ripen over a period of less than 2 weeks, then that's it until next year.

What I can reach is about a quart of berries per day, if lucky. Here's part of it along a LONG stretch of fence, then there's more in the front yard next door. That reddish patch is all berry vines, vigorous new foliage leaning all over the old (which is where the berries are, on the old.) Even if I was willing to get scratched up or hope jeans would protect me walking over there, there could be snakes in that kind of thicket. No, thanks! If someone ever mows over there, we'll clear our side of the fence too. For now, they can have about 6", then the mower draws the line. If we've got to look at them and deal with them anyway, might as well let them grow enough on our side for some picking and not waste time weed-wacking there. That grape ivy needs to go though, it's making too much shade on the berries, and its' trunk will keep getting fatter until it warps (and becomes part of) the fence.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 12:09PM
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Wow! What an opportunity! I would draw the line at wandering through snake infested berry patches, but to get what you can reach easily - you are so fortunate! Enjoy them!


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 4:55PM
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The hand mixer method is what I use to make cherry tomato juice for making tomato powder.

I feel if you cook the berries with the skin and seeds, the juice tends to be slightly bitter.


    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 10:28PM
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