apple pressing day

Despite a poor apple crop in the garden this year, we still have too many apples to deal with, even though we eat lots, cook them and make apple juice every couple of days with one jug to drink and one to freeze.  I always find my home stored apples a bit of a disappointment when they’re wrinkled, spotted and soft by December so we’ve long since decided that the best way to store apples is to make cider. Apple pressing day is an annual family event; my mother turns up with her own apples, knife and chopping board while others arrive with just a willingness to help in return for a bottle or two of freshly pressed apple juice to take home.

With no small boys to climb the trees for the high apples this year (because their mother was too busy doing this to come) we made big boys climb ladders while the knife wielders chopped the apples into small enough pieces to fit into the shredder. Knives varied from a small paring knife to large meat cleaver and some favoured meticulous cutting into neat cubes while others hacked the apples into odd shapes and sizes. This is the most labour intensive part of the process and I think we’re all hoping for a mechanised solution.


The apples were put through an old garden shredder to pulp them and then packed into the press. The skill is to pack the press full enough that sufficient pressure can be used to squeeze out as much juice as possible but not so full that the pulp spills out from the confines of the wooden slats and into the trough at the bottom. Once packed in, the blocks and handle were inserted and the apples pressed down, causing the juice to flow into the waiting bucket. Some of the juice is kept back to drink simply as juice while the rest is left in a warm place to ferment.

Once the juice has been extracted the resulting cake was taken away and scattered along a hedge line in the hope that some wonderful new variety of apple tree might spring from one of the pips.


Afterwards, we went inside to eat an old-fashioned Sunday Tea (including apple cake of course) and afterwards sat by the fire drinking last year’s cider. This year’s cider has started to froth and ferment and won’t be ready for a few months, but last year we got rather carried away and still have plenty of that to drink.

 

17 thoughts on “apple pressing day

  1. Glenda says:

    Anne, I am so jealous. That is what I have always wanted to do but the birds get my apples way before they are ripe. I have a crusher and a press, but alas, no apples:(

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      • Glenda says:

        Oh Anne that would be perfect. I also have a massive amount of lemonades, meyer lemons, Eureka lemons, mandarins and Valencia oranges I would happily swap. The birds don’t seem to like citrus:D

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  2. jonorman says:

    Oh I did miss our annual Cider Making outing yesterday but I’m now all up-to-date with my orders so I’m glad I was conscientious. Hope this doesn’t mean we won’t be allowed a little tipple of cider when we come over next?!?

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  3. Jane @ Shady Baker says:

    I love this Anne, it looks fascinating! What a wonderful family event. I can imagine the cider is delicious. Bringing people/family together to do these tasks is something we all should be doing I think. It creates a real feeling of community don’t you think?

    We have olive picking and pressing on the horizon and I am trying to organise a day so several families can participate and share the work load and end product!

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    • Anne @GtSlamseysFarm says:

      Olive picking and pressing sounds fun. I think we tend to be a bit insular these days and anything that brings people together is a good thing – and even better when there’s food and drink to cement the bonds.

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    • Anne @GtSlamseysFarm says:

      Celia, we have no idea how alcoholic it will turn out (we are very amateurish). We usually judge the alcohol content by how many glasses it takes to raise my mother-in-law’s voice an octave. Very childish but good fun.

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      • Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

        Anne, that is TOO funny. I guess you could buy a hydrometer, but it’s much more fun to get your MIL pickled.. 😉

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