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Autumn, a beautiful time when the weather is perfect, nights are cool, and the apples are ripe. A friend, Kit, offered the Garden Gals the use of her family cider press and so we got together and had a pressing party! Their backyard was the perfect September setting to work at crushing apples and pears and hanging out together.
We were all learning to operate the cider press and so we had to experiment to see what would work best. The nice part about making cider, is you can use the whole apple and the apple does not have to be perfect. Worms and all can go into the press! The first thing we did was fill up some containers with water to wash off the summer dirt and sand on the outside. The press has its own grinder and that's when the work began. Grinding requires a bit of arm strength. Fortunately, we had many willing volunteers to take turns with the crusher.
As the apples were crushed, they then fell into the wooden cider bucket- that bucket was lined with a porous cloth to hold the apples together.
When the bucket was filled, it was time to turn the crank and do the pressing of the apples. The juice then poured into the bottom tray that had an opening for the juice to drop down into a bowl. Then we poured the juice through cheesecloth into jugs.
Some of the apples were too large to place into the apple grinder and so we had a crew of ladies quartering apples before they were placed in the crusher. That was a good thing, since then we could also catch and throw out the rotten apples.
Best cider ever! We tried pear cider also and what we discovered were the pears were much easier to crush because they were so soft. And their juice had a lot more pulp in it, but still delicious.
Thanks Kit for allowing us to come over and enjoy the beautiful yard and your cider press.