Sunday, November 8, 2009

Apple Cider Day

The rake and the bag worked really well for picking apples. Eventually, the rake was too short and I used an 8-foot piece of wood to knock apples down. I wish I had a 12-foot piece of wood, there are still a bunch of apples at about 20 feet that I just couldn't reach. (Actually I do have 12-foot wood, but it's 2x8 and too heavy to lift.) I got this half-bushel of gnarled, small, pockmarked apples from three trees. The small apples on the right side of the basket are from the Mcintosh tree. I don't know what kind the ones on the left are. Never figured it out.
The cider press is this amazing contraption with the grinder on the left and the press on the right. After the press has taken out as much juice as it can, you remove the right basket and dump the remainders, then slide the left basket to the right and start pressing again. I don't know how many hundreds of pounds of apples were pressed, but it was something like three pickup trucks' worth, plus my little gnarly, pockmarked apples (which were the worst, by far). Everyone else's apples were grocery-store quality, and free, gleaned from various places on Friday. You could stick a cup under the spout and get fresh apple cider, one day off the tree.

It was the best apple cider I have ever tasted!

I wasn't keeping track - we probably made 40 gallons of cider. Several people brought 5-gallon plastic or glass bottles and added yeast to make hard cider. Someone took some of the spent apples to try and make apple liquor. Me, I got a few pitchers of apple cider to take home. Now I know what I'll need to bring next year, and I have some ideas of how to get better apples next year too. Yum.


  1. In Illinois we had ample apple trees and made cider every fall. Then when we moved up here, we joined with 3-4 other homesteading families and make apple cider each year also. Never got into the hard stuff (darn!) but everyone sure enjoyed the "juice." We have pictures to remember the times with and needless to say, the kids all remember the events with fondness.

  2. Hey Mama Pea - do you have any recipes that use alot of apple cider? I'm not sure I'm going to be able to drink all this by myself before it goes bad (or maybe that's good?).

  3. Jordan-
    In high school, our senior classes always made cider and sold it. In recycled milk jugs..too many issues now to let them do it. But we had a ton of fun! Seems that I heard someone talking about cider doughnuts. Wondering, could you freeze it?? and then heat it up later for spiced cider in the winter?? My mom just threw some out that was vinegar...there you go, if it goes bad, just wash the windows with it!!

  4. Sounds like a VERY fun day! Wish we had an apple press . . . I'll have to ask Mama Pea where it ended up! :)