6 October 2018
An early October Friday brought beautiful weather for apple pressing. We had been harvesting the apples for about a week beforehand. Julie Marie and George had helped the previous weekend with supervision from the three hens.
It was difficult to estimate exactly how many apples we had – each full bag was around 6 kg and then there were some larger bags and two boxes. In total we estimated that we probably had around 60 kg, possibly more. Many of these are the sweet eaters ‘Sunrise’ that unfortunately don’t keep well. We also had lots of pale green apples that look a little like golden delicious from one of the older trees at the south end of the Orchard and this year the rosy ’mystery’ apples on the other taller old tree were also plentiful.
The plan was to make some apple juice but also to fill two new white 10 L Brewers’ buckets with juice for cider.
We loaded up the car just before 9:30 and headed off for Ralph and Jill’s house near Factory Bridge. They are one of the custodians of the community apple press. For £20 local residents can borrow the press and scratter – much more efficient than every family with apples buying their own.
Ralph helpfully showed us how to set up the equipment. First the apples need to be pulverised and then the pulp is made into ‘cakes’ enveloped in strong fabric and sandwiched between wooden slats
Within half an hour the apple juice was flowing. In total we did two and a half pressings and produced nearly 40L of juice. Once back at home on Friday afternoon it was time to pasteurise the apple juice. This means that it will keep for months rather than days. We also added cider yeast to the buckets of juice – it will be interesting to see how quickly the fermentation begins over the next few days.