The fruits of your labour
IT WAS cider making time at our house this week and it smelled marvellous, tasted great, and was so much fun.
Since getting the trees for our cider orchard, Bear and I have been experimenting with apple wine, apple cider, and apple juice, figuring out the best techniques and how to make the process from fruit to something quaffable as streamlined as possible.
We started with tracking down a sturdy mulcher that Bear reworked into a first rate apple mulcher.
It grates the apples rather than smashing them, making it so easy to put them through the cider press and get as much juice as possible.
Then we sewed mesh bags that we place in large buckets under the spout of the mulcher.
This allows us to fill the bag with apple mulch, then lift it directly into the cider press, making transport and clean up a breeze.
For the cider press itself, Bear fitted it to a trolley and fixed a stand that keeps it elevated and stable and easy to manoeuvre.
With that handy contraption, we can lift the bag of apple mash from the mulcher into the press and have it start filtering juice into a bucket right away. No muss, no fuss.
With sterilised bottles and a funnel on a nearby table, it’s a simple process to mulch, press, and bottle.
We also keep a wheelbarrow handy for the leftover apple scraps.
As soon as we’re done, we wheel it over to the chook pens where they have a mighty feast indeed.
We bottled nearly 30 litres of apple juice today.
It’s now tucked away in the freezer to sit awhile until we have time later this week to thaw it and start brewing a batch of apple cider.
As good as the cider is, I still love a glass of cold, fresh pressed apple juice best of all.
So I always make sure to set a few bottles aside for that most delightful autumnal pleasure.
What is your favourite way to use new season apples?