When Life Hands You Apples, Make Cider

Sunday morning, I headed out to the farm to help my father-in-law make apple cider.  There’s three very nice trees on the land and the past few years we’ve been pressing our own cider.  Delicious.  We even planted a few more apple trees so we can keep doing this in the future.  The making of Cider is quite simple.

Step 1 – Pick and wash the apples.  For some reason, the trees were loaded down this year.  It was like picking bunches of grapes.

Step 2 – Cut the apples into quarters, remove any bad spots or worm areas and wash again.  This is a good time to remind you not to wear your best clothing and try to wear something waterproof, especially your shoes.  There’s a whole lot of water involved.

Cutting the Apples

Step 3 – Feed ’em to the Garbage Disposal.

Yup, you heard that right. A garbage disposal.

As the picture above demonstrates, we used a small section of leftover countertop with your everyday kitchen garbage disposal in the center.  My father-in-law read about this trick on the Internet and discovered it makes processing the apples into mash incredibly fast.  And it’s easy to clean – just run water through it when you’re done.  This video shows how it works:

Step 4 – Put the mash into the cider press.  There’s a mesh bag in there to keep it from seeping through the sides.  Bonus – if a bee flies into the mash, you get a slight honey flavor!  (No, not really, you just get wings and not the Red Bull kind).

Cider Press & Mash

Step 5 – Press the mash.  Fix on the press and start cranking.  At the bottom of the press (out of camera view) is pair of half moon shaped wooden blocks that press down on the apple mash.  The wooden blocks are piled on top of that so we don’t have to spin the press so far.

Pressing Out the Cider

Step 6 – Bottle up or bottoms up.

THIS is what Apple Juice should look like.

Yes, cloudy is better.  Cider is full of antioxidants and other healthy stuff.  You simply can’t beat a glass in the morning with breakfast.

We pressed a couple of boxes of apples and I believe we got 4 or 5 gallons out of that, most of which will go into the freezer so we can enjoy it later in the year.  The whole process took about two hours.  We’ll probably get in two or three more pressings before the season is over.