Zero Carbon Apple Juice

Anne Miller #2Having been lent an apple press this autumn, I’ve been going wild processing windfall apples into fantastic fresh organic zero carbon apple juice.

The carbon footprint of the juice is effectively zero, because the apples were all collected by bike, and the press is hand operated.  But as I’d made much too much for us to drink it all fresh, I started to wonder about whether it would be lower carbon to store it in the freezer, or to bottle it?

While finishing processing the last batch I did the sums.  They suggest that if you only want to store the juice for a few weeks, it makes little difference whether it’s frozen or bottled.  Both processes will give you juice with about 1/20th of the carbon footprint of supermarket long life juice.

However, if you want to keep it a year, it’s 10 times lower carbon to bottle it than freeze it.  This is because bottling only needs energy for the initial processing, while the freezer uses energy to keep things frozen.  By the time homemade zero carbon apple juice has been kept frozen for a year, its carbon footprint is no better than long life juice from the supermarket.  It may still taste better of course.

Interestingly, the juice rapidly ceases to be zero carbon if you drive to collect the fruit.  Driving 10km to collect a couple of buckets of apples (ie enough for around 4 litres of juice) adds half the carbon footprint of supermarket juice.

There’s a great explanation of how to make and bottle your own apple juice here

by Anne Miller
October 30, 2013

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