Sunday, 28 September 2008

Cider making

I spent a large part of today, helped along by Bean, making cider. I got a new fruit/cider press last week, to replace my old one which is in need of parts and mending. Three scrumpy-less years because of it has proved too much to bear, so I bought the new press from Ascott Smallholding. Lovely piece of equipment, cast iron, in red and white, with a wooden-slatted barrel on it. It's only a small one, which meant extra work, but it works very well. I had gathered up a lot of free apples - some from a friend up the road, others found in baskets and buckets outside folks's houses where they had a surplus. First step is to wash the apples, then crush them' I don't have a proper apple crusher attachment, so got the hand shredder out and put them through that. After a while, we found it better (higher juice extraction) to put them through twice, after chopping them first; then into the press, to drip into a barrel. Lid on the barrel, then it's left completely alone for about three months until it's ready to drink - should be ready by Christmas. We didn't get a huge amount, but it's all ours and it was free bar the hard work! Plenty of crushed apple pulpy bits for the compost too. I've got some crab apples in the freezer to try them out next; some folks swear by this, saying it is much easier to pulp them after being frozen, and greater juice extraction is achieved. Must be worth a try, if it makes it easier. There are still lots of apples to be had for free, so we'll undoubtedly be doing more soon, despite the sticky kitchen floor :)

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