October 19, 2010
Pressing Cider Again!
I know I blogged about my cider press a couple of weeks ago, but let’s face it; making apple cider is just plain fun! Plus, there’s something so gratifyingly simple about the whole process. You grind up the apples and give them a good pressing and you are rewarded with a sweet, refreshing, and healthy beverage. Plus, there’s absolutely no waste involved as the pressed-out pulp is fed to my chickens. It’s also great for composting. Last week on Columbus Day, I spent the day at home working. While taking a break from writing, I decided to give a lesson in cider making to those on the farm that day.
Some cider basics: Approximately 30 to 40 apples will yield one gallon of cider. The apples you use needn’t be flawless, but they should be free of spoilage, which would cause the juice to ferment too rapidly. If you are concerned about pasteurization before drinking, simply heat the cider to 160-degrees for about 6 to 8 seconds. After pasteurization, cider can be frozen for longer storage.
1 I've been telling you in my blog postings that we have an abundance of apples this year at the farm. I've never seen anything like it!
2 With such an enormous quantity of apples, I'm so happy to finally have a cider press. This one is from Happy Valley Ranch in Paola, Kansas. http://www.happyvalleyranch.com/
3 While someone turns the flywheel of the cider press, whole washed apples are fed into the grinder apparatus.
4 The whirring cylinder has sharp teeth-like knives that chop the apples into bits.
5 The very juicy chopped apples fall into a mesh-lined tub beneath.
6 Skins, seeds, and all fill the tub.
7 When the tub is full, a wooden pressing plate is positioned on top of the chopped apples.
8 The tub is then positioned beneath the press screw. Laura begins lowering the pressing foot onto the pressing plate.
9 As pressure is applied, pure apple juice begins to flow. It's amazing how quickly the juice oxidizes into a rich amber brown color.
10 A 2 X 4 provides Laura with more torque for pressing. Pete keeps grinding as I keep feeding more apples. Shaun was fascinated, as he had never seen this process before.
11 Swapping out buckets of cider
12 Pouring the cider into clean, one-gallon containers being careful to leave the foam behind
13 When the juice stops flowing, the screw is raised. The remaining apple pulp is emptied and fed to the chickens.
14 Shaun takes a turn at cranking the flywheel. This is really fun stuff!
15 We had a real production line going and made many gallons of cider.
16 Eliad was amazed how easily the apples were crushed. I warned him to keep his fingers away from the blades!
17 Fresh cider for everyone!
18 Francesca wanted to be part of the action.
19 I love the way the cider looks in these one-gallon glass jars.