Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Making Apple Cider

After two years of almost no apple harvest due to a late frost one year and a caterpillar invasion the other, we have been blessed with an extravagance of apples this year.  Every bough of every domestic and wild apple tree weighs heavy with it's bounty.  The deer and bear will have an easier winter for it.  

From this bounty, we were lucky enough to be invited to participate in an annual apple cider pressing day.  An elderly couple with a camp passed on their cider press to a neighbor and told them, it was "for the community."  So each year the neighbor invites friends and their children to participate in pressing apple cider.  

We were told that the more varieties of apples that were put into the cider the better the cider would taste. 

We started by going out to different wild apple trees.  The children climbed up into the trees or grabbed the branches and jumped up and down to shake off the apples onto a drop cloth.  We didn't want to pick up the apples that were on the ground because the deer had come in to enjoy them and left droppings of their own!  

The children washed the apples.

You can see the apples being washed and
the cider being pressed out.  

And then put them in the chopper.  It's a rotating drum with steel blades that chop an apple to bits in seconds!  The lid keeps the apples from flying back out (and probably helps to keep little fingers out of the blades too!)

We spread out and push down the chopped apples a bit. (That's a hand in there smoothing out the apples.)

Then put a wooden cover over the chopped apples and cranked it down to squeeze out the cider.  

You can see a sack of leftover crushed apples (the "squeezings") in the background.  We took the squeezings home to the pigs and the blueberry bushes.  We were told that blueberry bushes love to have apple mulch around their base.

Maggie, the apple chasing dog, had an exciting day.

We pressed about 15 gallons of apple cider and everyone went home with the "fruits" of their labor!

I heard a sound as of scraping tripe, 
 And putting apples wondrous ripe, 
 Into a cider- press's gripe.

~ Robert Browning 

1 comment:

  1. Oohhh...what a fun day! I love the idea of the "community press!