Labor day weekend cider pressing

We had friends over one day this weekend and experimented with cider pressing after Susan’s Dad gave us a press and grinder he had. Overall it went great, though it was a pretty full day of work. We started in the morning collecting apples from our property. We have around 15 trees on our land and there are 3 or  4 on the adjacent property that’s been left to run wild. Most of them are doing really well this year including several which have had a blockbuster year. We took our tractor and cart and our guests, which included Andy and his two daughters River and Sage, and Bill and Daniel and their two daughters Jacqui and Gabbie, plus Amy and Sussane and Kieth and their two kids Sophie and Henry, and drove from tree to tree picking up the most promising looking apples, occasionally climbing up into the trees to shake them to get the most healthy fruit up near the top. By the time we had a mostly full cart we had gotten tired and broke for lunch. After lunch we setup – things started with sorting and washing, with the apples that needed attention passed to the carving table to have questionable bits cut off. Everything ended up in the washing bin, after which it got tossed into the grinder bin. The grinder is an old washing machine motor hooked to a large diameter wooden dowel that’s got dozens of stainless steel screws sticking up out of it. You press the apples down over this to produce the mash, which then gets dumping into a press lined with a burlap sack. Once the juice has been pressed out of the mash you pour it through cheesecloth to filter out the last of the bits and viola, you have cider. Ours was delicious and well worth the effort. All told we got about 7 gallons out of a cart full of apples, enough for us to share generously with all the helpers and still have enough left over to freeze for Brady as popsicles. Assuming we have years like this again, we could easily get 10x as much cider just by attending to the drops from the trees, and there’s still enough for us to do this at least one more time this year – anyone wanting to come by to participate let us know, we’re figuring on doing it again this weekend. Below is a picture of half the setup, and there are a few more pictures here in our gallery.

Cider pressing 2011

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