We were able to squeeze in some apple cider making the weekend before we left on vacation. This is our second year of doing this. I'm hoping to make this a yearly tradition. What a treat it was to be able to pull out local, organic cider from our freezer all year long! I'm sure it saved us money. We are very fortunate to have friends that have a cider press and let us reap the benefits!
Our day started with 26 bushels of apples. I guess the more variety you have, the better tasting the cider will be.
For some crazy reason the apple orchard our friend went to, Turkey Ridge Organic Orchard, sold him the apples for only $1.50 a bushel! and they picked them for him too! As if that wasn't enough, they gave him all the bottles and caps for free! You get about 2 1/2 gallons of cider per bushel. It doesn't get any cheaper than that! Wow!
The whole process is quite easy. Thanks to our friends who had everything all set up when we got there made it all go even faster. From start to finish, which included clean up, took us about 4 hours.
Into the apple hopper they went. You just throw them in stems and all. The apples were so beautiful. Out of 26 bushels I think we probably threw out 6 rotten apples!
It used to be a hand cranked hopper, but luckily a small little motor makes the job a lot easier and quicker.
After crushing the apples, the mash goes into the cider press where the
hard work of pressing begins. (you may notice I'm not in any of the
It came out to being close to 2 bushels that would fit in the press at a time.
After being pressed, the apple juice was mixed up in a 35 gallon garbage can (of course clean), where it was then strained and put into bottles.
From 26 bushels of apples, we ended up with 62 1/2 gallons of cider! We took home 25 gallons to put in our freezer. With a 1/2 of pig, 1/4 cow, lots of strawberries and veggies from our garden and 25 gallons of cider, there is barely any room left in our freezer. What a great feeling to have it filled with all local goodness!
Here's a few extra pics I just had to share from our cider day.
What a lovely fall day for cider(ing).