on making apple cider

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Tonight we made some more cider and tonight I brought my camera out with us. First, it starts with a huge amount of apples. As we were sitting together chopping apples into quarters and taking out any worms we saw, we remarked that the only way you’d be able to afford to make cider is if you had your own apples trees, because it takes a lot of apples to make cider! To buy apples for this endeavour would cost a fortune!
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When I began researching apple presses I had narrowed it down to two, one from Happy Valley Cider Presses and the one we got from Pleasant Hill Grain (we got the MacIntosh press). There aren’t many reviews of apple cider presses out there, so we had to go on educated guesses and personal preferences. We in the end decided on the mostly metal construction with the oak tub, rather than the all pine construction. In hopes that we will live in this house forever, that means pressing a lot of cider and all metal construction seems more durable than pine. It was a little more expensive in the end, but I’m happy with our decision. This model came with a separate grinder, whereas the Happy Valley press came with a grinder that emptied straight into the tub, which I kind of liked the idea of, honestly. No worries though, this doesn’t seem to slow us down.
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After quartering the apples, you send them through the grinder so that the press can extract the most juice as possible.
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Then you place the grinds into a mesh bag which sits in the press and away you crank. What we also liked about this press is that the entire red metal top, folds down so that you can easily clean the tub and take the fruit in and out easily.
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Isn’t the press beautiful? The grinder too, I think. There is something about well made, quality constructed, simple things that I find so beautiful. I want to put this press on a table for display.
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Pressing cider is certainly a group effort. While one person presses, another person has to hold the jug to fill. This year I feel, we are just getting used to this contraption, what it can do, how the juice tastes, what different things we can press. Next year I want to host a cider pressing party.
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Because like I said, you need an amazing amount of apples to make a small amount of cider, so we need all the help we can get! We’ve filled a few bottles for the freezer too. What fun! I doubt our family is immune to the stresses that every other family feels. We too worry about all sorts of things that other people are worrying about in this day and age, we get frusterated with our kids and each other. But there are times when we get to do something like this, that slows us down and makes us appreciate simple things, like cider, solid construction, each others company, and adds a little richness to our every day. And sometimes I think that’s what it’s all about. Adding that bit of beauty and richness into our daily lives, that makes it all worth living for. Cheers!

19 Comments

Filed under Fruit Trees, Preserving

19 responses to “on making apple cider

  1. So amazing! What a wonderful experience to press your own cider from your own apple trees! Enjoy…. I can just imagine the wonderful taste of it🙂

  2. Just found your blog today and I absolutely love it! Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful recipes and adventures. It is incredibly inspiring. Can’t wait to try some of these things –

  3. Lauren

    So you don’t have to can the cider? I’m assuming you refrigerate/freeze everything? What’s the shelf life of non-canned in the fridge?

  4. Beautiful post. I just love apple cider. There is a place in VT I’ve been to that has the best! Happy to have come across your blog. Can’t wait to browse around some more.

  5. I’m off to plant some apple trees now…maybe some pears as well. Thanks again for the inspiration.

  6. We host an apple pressing and harvest party every year – it is loads of fun. I’ve blogged about it here: http://livinginlangley.blogspot.com/2008_09_01_archive.html. Last year we made appletinis and they were a HUGE hit! I definitely recommend adding those in. We had to go out and buy apples last year but I drove 2 hours to apple country and picked up several boxes at a reasonable price. This year we have zero apples on our trees so will have to purchase again. You’re right, it takes a LOT of apples. I’d say one big grocery bag makes one big container of juice. We use plastic bottles we’ve collected over the year and then freeze them. I also freeze some in small freezer container sizes to use in recipes throughout the year that call for apple juice. Glad you found a cool press and have discovered the joys of apple pressing!

  7. KimH

    Awesome!! Love it! Enjoy your cider!!

  8. Wow, if there was one thing I could grow I think it would have to be apples. Late summer and the autumn are my favourite time of year and ever since I was a small child going out apple picking was as dear an annual tradition as any other, including Christmas! I also noticed the bottles you used. I think we get the same kind of organic lemon juice.🙂

  9. I picked apples last week in Graton and my neighborhood in Petaluma held a pressing party, as one of them has an old press. If your going to freeze the juice, take it from my experience over the past few days: apparently NO ONE makes freezer safe bottles, Mason quart jars will shatter in the freezer, as will those Santa Cruz Organics jars, but the wide mouth pints work fine.

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  11. Kelly

    Did anyone else have trouble freezing juice in the Santa Cruz glass bottles? It looks like that’s what was used here, but I was a little afraid of them shattering in the freezer. I suppose I will try placing them in a big container first, to see how it works out!

    • asonomagarden

      Kelly, we froze our cider in plastic jugs. We didn’t want to risk them breaking in the freezer and spoiling our precious cider.

  12. molly

    You can freeze in glass but it has to be done carefully. Get the containers and the liquid as cold as possible first, then fill and freeze. Also wait until it’s frozen to tighten the lids. It’s not foolproof, but almost! Thanks for your review of the press you chose…it’s a hard decision to make and this helps.

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  14. Christine

    Just curious – once I decided to throw some green apples in my countertop juicer (I love green apples) and the juice was green, yet in this post the apples look green but the juice is brown…is that just because of oxidation or am I missing something?

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  17. This looked like a successful little venture, hopefully I can achieve the same sort of results myself. I’ve just purchased a press and I too was undecided over a couple of different models. I see you went for the Pleasant Hill press in the end over the Happy Valley Ranch. I opted for a HVR model myself but purchased it from http://www.simplyciderpresses.com instead of from them directly as it was slightly cheaper!

    Hopefully it will be as productive for me as your was here!

  18. NCcoonhound

    Planting our orchard in 6 weeks 16 trees – all Old Southern varieties – I’ll have to wait 3-5 years to enjoy – thanks for posting this article on pressing cider – the idea of a cider pressing party is a delight!

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