November 22, 2010

Cider Press

On the last weekend of October Mike and I headed north to Sedro Woolley to partake in the 2nd Annual Franklin Apple Pressing.

My sisters and I have many fond childhood memories of heading to Peshastin, WA to press apples at my uncle's house, and a couple of years ago we started talking about how to make that a memory for my nephew too. Last year, by sheer luck, Clayton won an electric apple cider press in a raffle at a county fair.

This press is beautiful, handmade and well-made, and best yet, has an electric motor for grinding the apples (no hand cranking!).

We started by moving 900 lbs of apples from the crate into a water bath.

Not a bad idea to taste-test the apples first - particularly the ones shaped like butts.

For those who've never made cider before, the premise is very simple. Drop apples in the top hopper, turn on the motor (or start hand-cranking), and watch the fragrant pulp drop into the barrel below the hopper. Once that barrel is full, slide it over underneath the press portion. Turn the press crank and cider starts to seep out the bottom. Make sure you have a bucket ready to catch it!

Eating a few bites of apple, then throwing them on the ground for the dog to finish was a popular past-time for the small children. I don't think they'd ever seen so many apples in one place before!

Our bottling operation: After the cider was pressed, it went through a couple of strainers to further eliminate pulp. From there we funneled it into gallon jugs (collected, cleaned and donated by all the participants of the pressing).

An incredible 55 gallons! There were at least 30 people participating in the press, and everybody went home with some cider. Mike and I took three gallons, and at the suggestion of others, stuck them in the freezer when we got home. We just pulled out a gallon to thaw when we felt like cider. Sadly, we're down to our last few drops, but looking forward to the 3rd annual Apple Pressing!

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