Ken's Voyages Around the Sun

Pressing Matters
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We enjoyed a splendid sunny and cool Saturday with numerous friends and acquaintances as we made our first apple juice!

We rented an old-fashioned apple press from Cayuga Nature Center for $40 and used it to process about 12 bushels of apples, which gave us about 15 gallons of sweet cider. All these apples came from two trees as windfall; most of them could be eaten in one or two bites.

The press itself included a metal hopper and apple pulverizer, which dropped shredded apples in to a cloth-lined slatted tube. When it filled up we placed a round board on top of the bag and then wound down a pressing screw to squeeze the apple pulp. This resulted in juice flowing out of the bag and through the slats onto a metal tray, thence into a pan.

Shelley flash-pasteurized the juice (because the apples were groundfall) by taking it up to 170 degrees for 30 seconds then rapidly cooling it. We kept apples from the two trees separate in order to taste any difference, which there was, and we blended some for a third tasting.

We're now in the market for our own press so that we don't have to reserve one for a particular weekend: we'll be able to press whenever we have apples and won't have to store them and hope for lack of spoilage (we lost a couple bushels that way). Unfortunately new ones cost several hundred bucks; we'll be watching for estate sales and craigslist for used ones, or possibly buy a kit and make our own.

We drank some of the juice, we're freezing some, mailing some out, and fermenting the rest to make real cider. Check back in a few months to hear about the results.

Down at the ol' apple press

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