We finally completed most of our apple canning and preserving for the season. We still have one bushel picked of nice, big ones that we plan to use for pie filling. But there were still lots left hanging on the tree. So I got out my long pole and started knocking them down to press for cider.
When making hand-pressed apple cider, you don’t worry about cuts or bruises on the fruit. In fact, the bruises help “tenderize” the apples for chopping into mash. So knocking them down with vigor and even violence is not a problem. (Just make sure you wear glasses or protective goggles … I learned my lesson last year with a trip to the eye doctor after getting my cornea scratched by falling fruit. Stupid me!)
When I was done, I finished with about five bushels of apples.
So here is a pictorial description of the process.
My buddy, Tim, has a press that he restored. It is a mid-1800’s antique. I bought one for myself last year, but it still needs some restoration work, and I haven’t had time for that project yet. So Tim is nice enough to let me use his. Step one is to load the apples in to the hopper in small batches and crush them. It’s labor intensive. The apples are funneled into a steel chamber where they are crushed and shredded and fall out into the open-bottom basket below.